New Youth Smoking Data

New data, from the Florida Department of Health, shows a decline in the prevalence of cigarette smoking among Florida’s middle school and high school students.The National Institutes of Health sent out a release about the National Institute on Drug Abuse’s (NIDA) 2011 Monitoring the Future Survey (MTF), which shows that cigarette and alcohol use by eighth, 10th and 12th-graders are at their lowest point since the MTF survey began polling teens in 1975. Release: http://www.nih.gov/news/health/dec2011/nida-14.htm

Below is a complete press release on the Florida youth data. The national 2011 results released last week showed that 18.7 percent of 12th-graders reported current (past-month) cigarette use. In Florida, that prevalence rate is below the national average at just 15.4 percent.

Three weeks ago, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids ranked Florida Ranks 13th in "Protecting Kids from Tobacco.” (http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/national-report-florida-ranks-13th-in-protecting-kids-from-tobacco-134745003.html)
New Tobacco Free Florida Website
I also encourage you to visit www.tobaccofreeflorida.com. Earlier this month, Tobacco Free Florida re-launched its website in time for the New Year, when many Floridians resolve to quit tobacco. The new, user-friendly website provides substantiated information to encourage tobacco users to quit and offers the tips and tools needed to quit successfully. In early 2012, Tobacco Free Florida will expand the website to include sections on helping others quit, a variety of tobacco-related issues in the state, information for teens, and much more. 

Survey Data Shows Decrease in Smoking Among Florida Youth
Data Reveals Decrease in Cigarette Smoking Though Smokeless Tobacco Use Continues to Grow

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida Department of Health (DOH) released results from the 2011 Florida Youth Tobacco Survey (FYTS) showing a decrease in cigarette smoking rates among Florida middle school and high school students.

In 2011, 11.9 percent of high school students and 3.5 percent of middle school students reported current cigarette use, meaning they had smoked a cigarette at least once during the past 30 days. Compared to last year, this data shows a decrease of 9.2 percent among high school students and a decrease of 28.6 percent among middle school students. More significantly, since the Tobacco Free Florida campaign launched in 2007, 17.9 percent fewer high school students and 42.6 percent fewer middle school students in Florida were current cigarettes smokers.

"The continued decrease in the smoking prevalence rate among our state’s youth is a clear indication of the effectiveness of our tobacco prevention programs,” said Dr. Frank Farmer, Florida’s State Surgeon General. “However, tobacco prevention remains a critical issue in Florida where tobacco use remains the number one cause of disease and preventable death."

Despite the promising decline of cigarette smoking among youth, the prevalence of smokeless tobacco use has trended upward among Florida youth over the past several years. This is consistent with an increase in smokeless tobacco use nationwide.

Smokeless tobacco products are perceived to be less harmful. But in reality, these products contain more nicotine than cigarettes[i] and 28 cancer-causing agents (carcinogens).[ii] In addition, people who experiment with smokeless tobacco often develop a pattern of regular daily use.[iii]

“The most prominent influence on youth’s decision to partake in tobacco products is whether the parent engages in tobacco use,” said Kim Berfield, Deputy Secretary for the Florida Department of Health. “Parents with nicotine habits are advised to quit as soon as possible and discuss their quit struggle with their children, as many children tend to underestimate the addictiveness of nicotine. Parents should also be aware and talk to their children about the dangers and misconceptions of smokeless tobacco and flavored tobacco products, which are growing in popularity in younger populations.”

Preventing youth tobacco initiation is a critical step in combating the pervasive problem of tobacco in our state. In fact, nine out of 10 adult smokers begin while in their teens, or earlier, and two-thirds become regular, daily smokers before they reach the age of 19.[iv] In Florida, more than 22,800 kids (under 18) become new smokers each year.[v]

Tobacco prevention is as imperative as ever. Today, the design and contents of tobacco products make them more attractive and addictive than ever before.[vi] In addition, adolescents’ bodies are more sensitive to nicotine, and adolescents are more easily addicted than adults.[vii]

Tobacco Free Florida offers a number of free, convenient and confidential resources to help young tobacco users quit.
·         Online: Floridians age 13 or older can enroll in the Web Coach® at www.quitnow.net/florida, which will help them create personalized web-based quit plans.
·         Phone: Floridians age 11 or older can call the Florida Quitline at 1-877-U-CAN-NOW to speak with a Quit Coach who will help them assess their addiction and help them create personalized quit plans.
 
ABOUT TOBACCO FREE FLORIDA
Tobacco Free Florida (TFF) is a statewide cessation and prevention campaign funded by Florida’s tobacco settlement fund. The program is managed by the Florida Department of Health, specifically the Bureau of Tobacco Prevention Program.

Smokers and smokeless tobacco users interested in quitting are encouraged to call the Florida Quitline at 1-877-U-CAN-NOW to speak with a quit coach. To learn about TFF and the state’s free quit smoking resources, visit www.tobaccofreeflorida.com or follow the campaign on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/TobaccoFreeFlorida or Twitter at twitter.com/tobaccofreefla.

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