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This story brought a smile to my face as we all know that Joel has devoted a large chunk of his life to helping Chicago area youth "get" the true scoop on smoking nicotine. We hope it made you smile too, Joel!
ChicagoCity Health Department Reports
Steep Decline in Youth SmokingLowest Smoking Rate Ever Among Youth in ChicagoChicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) officials announced today that cigarette smoking among young people has dropped sharply since 1998 and now stands at the lowest levels seen since youth smoking statistics have been compiled.In a 2003 survey of Chicago public high school students, 16.9 percent reported that they are smokers, down dramatically from 26.8 percent in 1997. The steepest decline came among non-Hispanic black youth, with rates more than cut in half: 24.9 percent in 1997, 11.2 percent in 2003.
Smoking during pregnancy also is at an all-time low.
"This news is most encouraging and shows that prevention efforts are on the right track," stated CDPH Commissioner John Wilhelm, M.D. "Yet this is no time to rest on our laurels. Significant challenges remain. At least 4,000 Chicagoans die every year as a result of cigarette smoking, and that's not counting those whose deaths were caused at least in part by secondhand smoke. We need to ensure that prevention efforts continue."
The news is part of a report, "The Epidemiology of Cigarette Smoking in Chicago," released at today's meeting of the Chicago Board of Health. The document is an update of a report that CDPH epidemiologists compiled and released in 1998. Paper copies of the report may be obtained by calling (312) 747-9809, and is also available electronically in PDF format (pdf 400k).
States, Industry Blamed for SlowdownMarch 31, 2005
By Todd Zwillich
Reviewed By Brunilda Nazario, MD
Nearly 30% of American high school students are still using tobacco, worrying health officials and advocates that previous gains against youth smoking have slowed.CDC figures released Thursday show that 28% of high school students were current smokers in 2004, a number essentially unchanged since 2002. Cigarette smoking rates for middle school students dropped slightly from 9.8% to 8.1% during the same period, though the change was not significant.Overall, 28.2% of high school students and 11.7% of middle school students now use cigarettes, cigars, smokeless tobacco, or other products, the agency reported. Approximately 4.5 million American teens currently smoke, according to 2003 federal surveys.Antismoking Efforts SlowingOfficials warn that Thursday's figures represent a significant slowdown in efforts to curb smoking by young people that previously helped produce deep cuts in minors' tobacco use. Cigarette smoking peaked at 36% of high school students in 1997. It dropped to 22.5% by 2002, after the 1998 Master Settlement agreement between states and cigarette makers greatly curbed industry advertising and forced companies to pay for campaigns to end smoking by young people."No changes were observed in the use of tobacco or in access to tobacco products," the CDC stated in its report. More than two-thirds of middle school youth surveyed said they were able to buy tobacco products without showing proof of age. Also, 87% of high school students reported seeing actors smoking on screen in 2004, the CDC said.Officials blame several other factors, including lower state spending on tobacco prevention and a slowdown in price increases that previously made it more difficult for youth to buy cigarettes. Increasing excise taxes caused an 80% rise in the cost of the average cigarette pack between 1997 and 2002, but that increase slowed to just 4% by 2004, they said.William V. Corr, executive director of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, who says that youth smoking rates have "clearly stalled," blames the tobacco industry and "short-sighted state legislatures" for the slowdown.Jennifer Golisch, a spokeswoman for Philip Morris USA, the nation's largest tobacco company, says that her company actively works to curtail minors' access to cigarettes and that the company greatly cut its newspaper and magazine advertising in recent years."In 2004, we didn't advertise in magazines at all," she says.But Corr notes that Philip Morris and other companies have made up for advertising cuts by greatly increased spending on price promotions and subsidies that help retailers lower the cost of cigarettes at retail counters. Nearly $8 billion of the industry's $12.5 billion in total tobacco promotions in 2002 went to such subsidies, he says."They have used their marketing and promotion allowances to encourage retailers to cut pricing, and that makes cigarettes more attractive to youth," Corr says.Golisch said that the overall rise in the retail price of cigarettes has increased the cost of offering price promotions, accounting for the billions in spending.CDC officials also point to a steep drop in state spending on tobacco prevention and control efforts, brought about in large part by near-ubiquitous budget crises. Spending for the programs dropped from $750 billion in fiscal 2002 to $543 billion in fiscal 2004, a figure which now represents just 3% of all funds available to states for tobacco prevention from the Master Settlement and from cigarette taxes."You would never see state legislatures cutting back on child immunization, yet they cut back on smoking immunization that we know works," Corr says.Meanwhile, supporters of giving the Food and Drug Administration the authority to regulate tobacco products and all aspects of their advertising pegged Thursday's report as evidence of the need for stricter cigarette regulations."The CDC report shows how critical it is to pass laws that will crack down on youth smoking," Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) said through a spokesperson. "We cannot in good conscience allow the Food and Drug Administration, the federal agency most responsible for protecting the public health, to remain powerless to deal with the enormous risks of tobacco -- the most deadly of all consumer products," he said.©1996-2005 WebMD Inc. All rights reserved.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------SOURCES: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, CDC, March 31, 2005. William V. Corr, executive director, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. Jennifer Golisch, spokesperson, Philip Morris USA. Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.)
Tobacco Use, Access, and Exposure to Tobacco in Media Among Middle and High School Students --- United States, 2004
Internet 'battleground' for smoking messages:professorIlya Gridneff - Herald Sun - AustraliaSeptember 27, 2007 01:50pmThe Internet is "the battleground for the lungs of our children" as tobacco companies run clandestine advertising campaigns, a professor says.Leading health professional Professor Simon Chapman, said achievements made with anti-smoking campaigns in traditional forums could be made irrelevant by new media.
He was speaking today at the Healthy Futures For Young People symposium at Sydney University.
"What we are really worried about is the new media - YouTube, Myspace, Facebook - places like this, which are running riot with many pro-smoking messages which look like they have the fingerprints of tobacco companies all over them," Prof Chapman said later.
"The tobacco companies will, of course, deny that they are doing it.
"But if you look at the production values which are going into some of these films they are way beyond anything that could be recorded on mobile phone camera."
The Sydney anti-smoking campaigner said there was a proliferation of soft-porn style clips using scantily clad women championing the pleasures of smoking, as well other such strategies freely available on the net.
"Regulating the web is the sort of North Korean approach, but what we can do is make it a battleground. And there are a lot of very creative efforts getting out there," Prof Chapman said.
"It (the internet) is really changing the way those in tobacco control have to think about the battleground for the lungs of our children in the future," he said.
Despite these concerns, smoking levels in Australia's youth were the lowest they had ever been, Prof Chapman said.
He said resources must be invested into new media strategies to counter pro-smoking messages via the internet.
Already, kids were downloading anti-smoking clips as well as the pro-smoking messages, he said.
Doctor Susan Towns, from Sydney's Westmead Hospital, told the conference most smokers started the habit as an adolescent.
"Six per cent start when they are 12 but we do know 17 per cent of 17 year-olds are smoking," Dr Towns said.
"Nine out of 10 smokers start in their teenage years and, of course, the earlier you start the more likely you are to have complications."
Today's symposium, attended by leading health experts, launched the first university-funded unit for adolescent medicine, based at Westmead.
The unit will coordinate, promote and focus on the range of health issues affecting young Australians, including sexually transmitted disease, drug and alcohol-related illness, depression and obesity.
Professor David Bennett said the unit was set up to reduce the incidence of chronic illness in 15 to 20 per cent of adolescents.
"Young people fall through the gaps, there is investment in younger children ... and in adults but we actually need to redress the imbalances there," Prof Barnett said.
He said more than 75 per cent of deaths among Australian adolescents were preventable.
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