A major new report ( Youth Tobacco Use in Massachusetts: Survey Results from 1993-2011 file size 1MB file size 3MB ) on youth tobacco use in Massachusetts shows encouraging progress in the fight to keep kids from smoking — along with troubling signs that the tobacco industry continues to find ways to market tobacco products in other forms to our young people.
The report — “Youth Tobacco Use in Massachusetts, Survey Results from 1993-2011” — shows that youth smoking rates have been cut by 60% in a twenty-year period. This is indeed great news, especially when we consider that the earlier young people begin to smoke, the more likely they are to become addicted to cigarettes. In fact, 82% of adult smokers had their first cigarette before they turned 19 years of age.
But while we celebrate our success in reducing teen smoking, the tobacco industry continues to target our young people with Other Tobacco Products such as cigars and cigarillos — sold individually in flavors like grape, cherry, and vanilla. These tobacco products are sold for as little as $1 each, in stores where young people frequent.
The new report shows that the tobacco industry’s latest marketing tactics are having an impact. In 2011, for the first time, the rate of cigar use by high school students in the past 30 days was equal to the rate of cigarette use.
That’s why DPH is working in partnership with a wide range of stakeholders, including schools, parents, legislators, community organizations and young people themselves, to sound the alarm about these Other Tobacco Products and their serious health impacts.
This information is provided by the Department of Public Health.