Posts Tagged teen cigarette smoking
Implementing more stringent measures against cigarette smoking may sound like a heroic act for any mayor, but it doesn’t seem to be the case in Chicago.
After Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel announced plans to update the legal smoking age to 21 (from the current 18) and increase taxes on tobacco products, members of the City Council Finance Committee doused water on the mayor’s proposal. According to some aldermen in the committee, the latest move by Emanuel may lead to more harm than good. Here are some of the opposing views on the matter:
- According to one alderman, the high taxation against tobacco may increase the sale of tobacco products in the black market and lead small tobacco businesses to shut down.
- Chairman Edward Burke (14th) spoke in behalf of aldermen, saying that the mayor’s plans would worsen the situation on loose cigarettes in the black market.
- Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th) said in a news release that the change in legal smoking age was without basis, considering that people who are 18 years old are allowed to get married. “An 18-year-old is not a kid,” according to Hairston.
Emanuel seems unfazed by the criticism on his proposal. “Mayor Emanuel has stood up to the tobacco industry countless times throughout his career to reduce youth smoking, and he’s not about to back down now”, a statement from the mayor’s office said. He seems to be banking on his effective five-year campaign against teen smoking, the rate of which has dropped to 10.7 percent in the city.
A recent study suggests that the power of vision can help steer teenagers away from tobacco products.
Non-profit group RAND Corporation revealed that hiding tobacco products from the sight of teens in convenience store shelves can significantly decrease the likelihood of adolescents in using cigarettes in the future. This was determined through a simulation of a convenience store replica to assess the impact of the missing tobacco products on 241 teenage participants.
The teens involved in the study visited one of three replica convenience stores — the first had its tobacco products displayed prominently on the “power wall: behind the cashier, the second placed its cigarette products near a sidewall, while the third one hid its tobacco items behind a screen. After the simulated store visit, the participants were given a survey questionnaire to ask about their likelihood of trying a cigarette.
The study, published in the journal Tobacco Control, showed that the susceptibility of teens to smoke in the future was reduced by 11 percent when the tobacco products were hidden from view. “These findings suggest limiting the visibility of tobacco displays in retail stores may reduce the number of young people who try cigarettes,” said RAND senior behavioral scientist William Shadel in a news release.
Results of the study could prove significant especially in the current market, where tobacco companies are starting to move away from traditional print advertising and into a more direct point-of-sale approach in selling their products.
If earlier studies recorded 35% of cigarette smokers also experimenting with marijuana, today’s latest findings has put 50% of young smokers aged 18 to 25 as weed users too.
A research conducted at the University of California yielded the result which is considered a big leap from the previous data gathered. Experts say that studies as such are very important in determining what programs are necessary to control present conditions. “The importance of getting accurate data like these cannot be stressed enough, as treatment programs and the financial support required for them are often guided by studies that demonstrate both prevalence and risk.”
Study author Danielle Ramo from UCSF Department of Psychiatry said they took advantage of technology and social media to gather data for their research. Ramo said they were surprised with the results. “…. rates were much higher, which shows the problem might be larger than we realize.”
The study was done with 3,500 participants all considered regular smokers. They remained anonymous and were asked to confirm any marijuana use in the last 30 days. After recording their answers, it was found out that from the 68% who smoked cigarettes on a daily basis, 53% of them also smoked pot within the last month.
Study senior author Judith Prochaska made it clear that being in a medical marijuana state was not a factor in the prevalence of marijuana use or the use of both tobacco and marijuana by their sampling population. There was no significant difference in results too when age, income, or gender factors were taken into consideration.
For Bruce Goldman, director of Substance Abuse Services at Zucker Hillside Hospitals in Glen Oaks, the findings of the study was what he actually expected. He also emphasized the need for new methods in developing treatment programs for substance abuse.
The same sentiment was heard from study author Prochaska. “Adapting the social media aspect into intervention and incorporating the social environment are new ways to approach finding the most effective means for treatment.”