Posts Tagged teen smoking

Chicago Mayor’s Proposal on Stricter Smoking Regulations Opposed By City Council Committee

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.

cigarette smokingAfter 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.

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Non-Smoking Teens Still Exposed To Secondhand Smoke, Says Study

Your teenage child may refuse to smoke cigarettes, but it doesn’t mean that they’re free from the health hazards associated with smoking.

cigarette secondhand smokeIn a startling discovery by a research team from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), close to half of teenagers in middle school and high school who don’t smoke are exposed to secondhand smoke. The findings were based on inquiries on more than 17,000 kids back in 2013.

Much like smoking tobacco, secondhand smoke is considered by the CDC to be an equally dangerous substance. “These findings are concerning because the U.S. Surgeon General has concluded that there is no safe level of secondhand smoke exposure,” said study lead author Israel Agaku via a news report.

What’s more surprising is that roughly 25 percent of the kids exposed to secondhand smoke said that they get exposed on a daily basis. However, the study wasn’t able to determine the exact duration of exposure of these children to secondhand cigarette smoke.

In addition, the rate of secondhand smoke exposure was higher in teenagers who engaged in smoking, the study team added.

Results and details of the CDC study were published in the journal Pediatrics.

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Hiding Cigarettes From Store Shelves Reduces Tobacco Use By Teenagers

A recent study suggests that the power of vision can help steer teenagers away from tobacco products.

menthol-cigarettesNon-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.

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Substance Abuse Treatment Does Not Address Teen Smoking Problem, Says Study

Teen substance abuse continues to be a worldwide issue, affecting the lives of millions of families. Although treatment procedures are effective in pulling adolescents away from drugs and alcohol, a recent study suggests that this isn’t the case with teen smoking.

teen woman smokingThis was revealed by a research team from the University of Georgia, as they looked into 22 substance abuse centers in the U.S., and studied their treatment procedures for teenagers. Results showed that many of the treatment centers do not introduce smoking cessation to their patients.

Study lead author Jessica Muilenburg shared via a news release the reason behind the study. “[Tobacco] changes the chemistry of your brain and makes you crave whatever your drug of choice is, which is why kicking the tobacco habit with the rest of your addictions is important… It’s a drug, but it’s not treated in the same capacity and with the same urgency as other drugs. We are saying to treat it with the same urgency, because relapse is less likely if you treat the nicotine as well,” Muilenburg said.

Unfortunately, the researchers saw that most treatment centers don’t put much weight on tobacco smoking. “Their primary goal is getting them off of alcohol and other drugs, but if we can get them off of all drugs, including tobacco, it will be more beneficial for them in the future,” Muilenburg added.

Reports from the Department of Health and Human Services said that about 2.6 million teenagers are engaged in cigarette smoking.

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CDC Releases Data on Teenage Drug Use: Less Smoking, More Marijuana

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released a statement saying that 30 percent of teenagers – regardless of ethnicity — engage in smoking cigarettes or marijuana. This was based on data comparing teenage smoking figures between 1997 and 2013.

teen smokingIn specific substances, the rate of smoking tobacco cigarettes in teenagers decreased from 20.5 percent to a little over 7 percent. While this may sound like good news, the figures for teen marijuana use isn’t pleasant. From only 4 percent of teenagers engaged in marijuana use in 1997, it has since shot up to 10 percent by 2013. In addition, the rate of teenagers smoking both cigarettes and marijuana has increased from 51 percent to 62 percent.

CDC Office on Smoking and Health director Dr. Tim McAfee emphasized the misinformation on marijuana as one of the probable causes behind this alarming figure. “Over the last 10 or 15 years, there has been a change in public perception of marijuana… There is the idea that marijuana is not something you need to worry about,” McAfee said in a news article.

Despite the increase in marijuana use, there is still reason to celebrate, particularly in terms of curbing cigarette use by teenagers. “This study reminds us that we know exactly what to do to further reduce smoking: increase tobacco taxes, enact smoke-free laws, fund effective prevention programs and implement hard-hitting mass media campaigns. These proven strategies must be continued and strengthened,” said Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids VP for communications Vince Willmore.

Details of the study were published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report by CDC.

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Teen Trends: More Marijuana Use, Less Alcohol Consumption

Here’s a bit of good and bad news: today’s teenagers use alcohol and cigarettes less, but are found to use marijuana increasingly.

teen alcohol use drinkingThis is according to a study conducted by Penn State’s The Methodology Center. Although the recent findings point to a successful campaign against tobacco, this may have caused the interest of adolescents to shift towards marijuana. “Our analysis shows that public health campaigns are working — fewer teens are smoking cigarettes… However, we were surprised to find the very clear message that kids are choosing marijuana over cigarettes,” said study co-author Stephanie Lanza in a news release.

The study looked into data from the project entitled Monitoring the Future, where close to 600,000 high school seniors from 1976 to 2013 were asked to participate in a survey. The questions were targeted towards checking the students’ use of three substances: alcohol, marijuana and tobacco.

Results showed a significant decrease in use of cigarettes, most notably in white adolescents. Marijuana, on the other hand, was used more as years went by, especially in black teenagers. Meanwhile, alcohol consumption by teenagers has steadily dipped over the years, with white teens drinking more than their black counterparts. A correlation was also noticed between marijuana and cigarette use, citing that those who smoked cigarettes were more likely to use marijuana than teenagers who did not use tobacco products.

Details of the study were published July 20 in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

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