More California teens turning to smokeless tobacco

16 Dec

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.

According to the Surgeon’s General, Teenagers who smoke were:

* Three times more likely to use alcohol.

* Eight times are likely to smoke marijuana.

* And 22 times more likely to use Cocaine.

Although only 5 percent of high school smokers said that they would definitely be smoking five years later, close to 75 percent were still smoking 7 to 9 years later.

Kids who smoke experience changes in the lungs and reduced lung growth, and they risk not achieving normal lung function as an adult.

A person who starts smoking at age 13 will have a more difficult time quitting, has more health-related problems and probably will die earlier than a person who begins to smoke at age 21.

Kids who smoke have significant health problems, including cough and phlegm production, decreased physical fitness and unfavorable lipid profile.

If your child’s best friends smoke, then your youngster is 13 times more likely to smoke than if his or her friends did not smoke.

Adolescents who have two parents who smoke are more than twice as likely as youth without smoking parents to become smokers.

More than 90 percent of adult smokers started when they were teens.

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

Why Do Teens Smoke?

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.

Peer pressure is one of the biggest factors in youth smoking, says Danny McGoldrick, research director for Tobacco-Free Kids. Smoking, McGoldrick told JS, is a way for kids “to belong and rebel [against parents] at the same time.”

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

Todd R. Hansen of the Colusa County Sun-Herald reports in the article, Smokeless tobacco use by youth rising:

Illegal sales of tobacco products to minors increased for the first time in three years in California, and the number of high school students who said they have had a cigarette jumped by nearly 37 percent in recent years.

Still, fewer California teens smoke than in virtually all other states, but the use of smokeless and other nicotine products are on the rise.

Nearly 4 percent of all teens in California used smokeless tobacco in 2010, an increase from just over 3 percent in 2004, the state reported.

In Colusa County, the percentage of youth (ages 12-18) who reported using smokeless tobacco products is 6.7 percent, compared to the 3.9 percent statewide. Moreover, 18.9 percent report have used such products compared to 11 percent statewide….

Here is the executive summary of the report, Tobacco Use and Promotion in California.

Executive Summary

This report provides the latest information on tobacco use and promotion in California, including the impact of tobacco advertising in retail stores on youth tobacco use, statewide tobacco consumption trends, and the economic and environmental impact of smoking. The following are key highlights from the report:

Youth Data

In 2010, 36.8 percent of high school students had smoked a whole cigarette by 13 or 14 years of age, an increase from 34.4 percent of high school students in 2008.

Illegal tobacco sales to minors rose to 8.7 percent from 5.6 percent in 2011.

Non-traditional stores (i.e., donut shops, discount stores, deli, meat or produce markets) had the largest percentage of illegal sales at 20.3 percent, up 10.5 percent from 2011

Emerging Tobacco Products

Sales of other tobacco and nicotine products have risen dramatically over the last decade in California, from $77.1 million in 2001 to $210.9 million in 2011.

Among high school students, smokeless tobacco prevalence was 3.9 percent in 2010, an increase from 3.1 percent in 2004, and places selling snus in California have increased significantly, from less than one percent in 2008 to 39.5 percent in 2011.

Tobacco Advertising in Retail Stores

There are approximately 36,700 licensed tobacco retail stores in California – one for every 254 kids.

Prevalence of smoking was higher at schools in neighborhoods with  five or more stores that sell tobacco than at schools in neighborhoods without any stores that sell tobacco.

Nearly one-third (32.3 percent) of California stores that sell tobacco had at least one cigarette advertisement less than three feet above the floor, where it is easily seen by children.

Economic Impact of Smoking

Smoking impacts many chronic diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes and asthma.

It is estimated that Californians will pay $6.5 billion toward adult tobacco-related health care costs in 2012, more than $400 per taxpayer.

The most cost-effective way to decrease health care costs is to encourage and support tobacco cessation.

In conclusion, we must remain committed to decreasing the death, disease and health care costs attributed to tobacco by supporting tobacco users who want to quit, and protecting young people from the influence of tobacco product marketing.

See, E-Cigarette Teen Popularity Prompts Concerns

Richard Craver of the Winston-Salem Journal wrote in the article, Electronic cigarettes gaining on traditional products:

The swelling popularity of electronic cigarettes may add to the regulatory and revenue tension between tobacco manufacturers and states.

Electronic cigarettes, or e-cigs, are battery-powered devices that heat a liquid nicotine solution in a disposable cartridge and create a vapor that is inhaled.

Refill cartridges can be purchased in different sizes and flavors; five-packs typically cost between $9 and $18. By comparison, a carton of cigarettes can cost between $25 and $50 for most name brands.

Bonnie Herzog, a Wells Fargo Securities analyst, believes the e-cig craze has shifted from “fad” to “here to stay.”

So much so that Herzog said recently in a note to investors that e-cig sales could grow fast enough to affect the payments states receive from the landmark Master Settlement Agreement.

Tobacco companies, including R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., agreed in 1998 to settle lawsuits filed by 46 state attorneys general over smoking-related health-care costs by paying those states about $206 billion over more than 20 years.

Most states have redirected much, if not all, of their MSA money to general expenditures, much to the chagrin of public-health advocacy groups.

Meanwhile, sales of e-cigs are about $300 million a year and the products have about 2.5 million users, according to Tobacco Vapor Electronic Cigarette Association.

Science Daily reported about a Swedish Study which showed that parents are influential in their child’s decision whether to smoke.

Teenagers are more positive today towards their parents’ attempts to discourage them from smoking, regardless of whether or not they smoked, than in the past. The most effective actions parents could take include dissuading their children from smoking, not smoking themselves and not allowing their children to smoke at home. Younger children were more positive about these approaches than older children. Levels of smoking amongst participants were stable at 8% in 1987 and 1994, but halved in 2003. The decrease in the proportion of teenagers smoking is thought to result from a number of factors, including changes in legislation and the decreasing social acceptability of smoking….

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

As with a lot of issues adolescents face, it is important for parents and guardians to know what is going on in their children’s lives. You should know who your children’s friends are and how these friends feel about smoking, drugs, and issues like sex. You should also know how the parents of your children’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?


Smokeless Tobacco                                                         

A Tool to Quit Smoking Has Some Unlikely Critics

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One Response to “More California teens turning to smokeless tobacco”


  1. Electronic cigarette use growing among kids | drwilda - September 9, 2013

    […] their children to use alcohol and/or other drugs. Are these values in accord with your values? Brady Dennis wrote in the Washington Post article, E-cigarette use among middle and high school […]

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