Another casualty of the economy: Kid’s lives going up in smoke

1 Dec

The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids has issued the new report, A Broken Promise to Our Children: The 1998 State Tobacco Settlement 13 Years Later. Among the findings are:

Our latest report, issued November 30, 2011, finds that the states have cut funding for tobacco prevention and cessation programs to the lowest level since 1999, when they first received tobacco settlement funds.

The states this year (Fiscal Year 2012) will collect $25.6 billion in revenue from the tobacco settlement and tobacco taxes, but will spend only 1.8 percent of it — $456.7 million — on programs to prevent kids from smoking and help smokers quit. This means the states are spending less than two cents of every dollar in tobacco revenue to fight tobacco use.

The states have cut funding for such programs by 12 percent ($61.2 million) in the past year and by 36 percent ($260.5 million) in the past four years….

Other key findings of this report include:

  • Most states are falling short of funding levels for tobacco prevention programs recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  The $456.7 million the states have budgeted amounts to just 12.4 percent of the $3.7 billion the CDC recommends for all the states combined.
  • Only two states — Alaska and North Dakota — currently fund tobacco prevention programs at CDC-recommended levels.  Only four other states provide even half the recommended funding, while 33 states and DC provide less than a quarter.  Four states — Connecticut, Nevada, New Hampshire and Ohio — and DC provide zero state funds for tobacco prevention this year.
  • Tobacco companies spend nearly $23 to market tobacco products for every $1 the states spend to fight tobacco use.  According to the latest data from the Federal Trade Commission, tobacco companies spend $10.5 billion a year on marketing.

The report comes as recent surveys have found that smoking declines in the United States have slowed.  To continue reducing tobacco use, elected officials at all levels must redouble efforts to implement proven strategies. That includes using more tobacco money to fund tobacco prevention programs.

The report contains an Interactive State Funding Tobacco Prevention Funding Map.

Some children consider smoking a rite of passage into adolescence. According to Tobacco Facts most teenage smoking starts early. Among the statistics cited at Tobacco Facts are the following:

Each day 3,000 children smoke their first cigarette.

Tobacco use primarily begins in early adolescence, typically by age 16.

At least 3 million adolescents are smokers.

20 percent of American teens smoke.

Almost all first use occurs before high school graduation.

Roughly 6 million teens in the US today smoke despite the knowledge that it is addictive and leads to disease.

Of the 3,000 teens who started smoking today, nearly 1,000 will eventually die as a result from smoking.

Of every 100,000 15 year old smokers, tobacco will prematurely kill at least 20,000 before the age of 70.

Adolescent girls who smoke and take oral birth control pills greatly increase their chances of having blood clots and strokes.

It is important to prevent teens from beginning to smoke because of health issues and the difficulty many smokers have in quitting the habit.

Denise Witmer at About.Com lists the reasons teens smoke

According to the World Health Organization ‘between 80,000 and 100,000 children worldwide start smoking every day.’ Here are some of the reasons why teens start smoking:

·         One or both parents smoke.

·         People they admire smoke.

·         Teens find acceptance by peers if they smoke too.

·         Mass media campaign for smoking works on teenagers and adults.

·         Teens feel invincible or that they can stop at anytime. So why not try it?

·         It helps the teen lose weight, reduce stress, etc.

·         Smoking’s biggest draw is that it is an adult activity that is forbidden 

Lauren Pappa writing in Junior Scholastic quotes Danny Mc Goldrick who cites peer pressure as the most important reason kids start to smoke.

This pressure exerted by peers and culture can be countered by the active involvement of parents and guardians.

Science Daily reported about a Swedish Study  which showed that parents are influential in their child’s decision whether to smoke. Another study reported by Reuters came to a similar conclusion that parents influence the decision whether to smoke

The Mayo Clinic has some excellent tips on preventing your teen from smoking

These 10 tips can help.

1. Understand the attraction.

Sometimes teen smoking is a form of rebellion or a way to fit in with a particular group of friends. Some teens light up in an attempt to lose weight or to feel better about themselves. Others smoke to feel cool or independent. ..

2. Say no to teen smoking.

You may feel as if your teen doesn’t hear a word you say, but say it anyway. Tell your teen that smoking isn’t allowed. Your disapproval may have more impact than you think. Teens whose parents set the firmest smoking restrictions tend to smoke less than do teens whose parents don’t set smoking limits. The same goes for teens who feel close to their parents.

3. Set a good example.

Teen smoking is more common among teens whose parents smoke. If you don’t smoke, keep it up. If you do smoke, quit — now. ..

4. Appeal to your teen’s vanity.

Smoking isn’t glamorous. Remind your teen that smoking is a dirty, smelly habit. ..

5. Do the math.

Smoking is expensive. Help your teen calculate the weekly, monthly or yearly cost of a pack-a-day smoking habit. You might compare the cost of smoking with that of electronic gadgets, clothes or other teen essentials.

6. Expect peer pressure.

Friends who smoke can be convincing, but you can give your teen the tools he or she needs to refuse cigarettes. Rehearse how to handle tough social situations. It might be as simple as, “No thanks, I don’t smoke.” The more your teen practices this basic refusal, the more likely he or she will say no at the moment of truth.

7. Take addiction seriously.

Most teens believe they can quit smoking anytime they want. But teens become just as addicted to nicotine as do adults, often quickly and at relatively low doses of nicotine. And once you’re hooked, it’s tough to quit.

8. Predict the future.

Teens tend to assume that bad things only happen to other people. But the long-term consequences of smoking — such as cancer, heart attack and stroke — may be all too real when your teen becomes an adult. Use loved ones, friends or neighbors who’ve been ill as real-life examples.

9. Think beyond cigarettes.

Smokeless tobacco, clove cigarettes (kreteks) and candy-flavored cigarettes (bidis) are sometimes mistaken as less harmful or addictive than are traditional cigarettes. Hookah smoking — smoking tobacco through a water pipe — is another alternative sometimes touted as safe. Don’t let your teen be fooled. Like traditional cigarettes, these products are addictive and can cause cancer and other health problems. Many deliver higher concentrations of nicotine, carbon monoxide and tar than do traditional cigarettes.

10. Get involved.

Take an active stance against teen smoking. Participate in local and school-sponsored anti-smoking campaigns. Support bans on smoking in public places.

If your teen has already started smoking, avoid threats and ultimatums. Instead, be supportive. Find out why your teen is smoking — and then discuss ways to help your teen stop smoking, such as hanging out with friends who don’t smoke or getting involved in new activities. Stopping teen smoking in its tracks is the best thing your teen can do for a lifetime of good health.

As with a lot of issues adolescents face, it is important for parents and guardians to know what is going on in their child’s lives. You should know who your child’s friends are and how these friends feel about smoking, drugs, and issues like sex. You should also know how the parents of your child’s friends feel about these issues. Do they smoke, for example, or are they permissive in allowing their children to use alcohol and/or other drugs. Are these values in accord with your values?

Parents need the support that smoking prevention programs give them and their children against the culture, peers, and the media. Smoking prevention programs are yet another casualty of the prolonged economic downturn.


Summary of Tobacco Settlement Bonus Payments (PDF)

Coming Increases to State Settlement Payments in April 2008 (PDF)

Report: A Broken Promise to Our Children: The 1998 State Tobacco Settlement Eight Years Later

Fact Sheets

Comprehensive Statewide Programs Reduce Tobacco Use (PDF)

Comprehensive State Tobacco-Control Programs Save Money (PDF)

Using Tobacco Tax Increases to Fund Comprehensive Tobacco Prevention Programs (PDF)

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

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