Teen Smoking – In its first report on the matter since 1994, the U.S. Surgeon General’s office has said that smoking among the teens in America has reached epidemic proportions. The report, which was released on Thursday, can be entirely viewed at www.surgeongeneral.gov. It stated that although the numbers are down from earlier decades, the rate of decline has slowed.
Surgeon General Dr. Regina Benjamin said in the report, “Today, more than 600,000 middle school students and 3 million high school students smoke. We don’t want our children to start something now that they won’t be able to change later in life.”
The report shows that 9 out of 10 smokers today started the habit before the age of 18 and that 99% of all first-time tobacco use happens before the age of 26. The report estimates that about 3,800 teens a day smoke for the first time every day.
“This report highlights the urgent need to employ proven methods nationwide that prevent young people from smoking and encourage all smokers to quit, including passage of smoke-free laws, increases in tobacco excise taxes and fully funded tobacco prevention programs,” John Seffrin, chief executive officer of the American Cancer Society and the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, said in a statement.
The report also indicated that the tobacco industry spends more then $1 million dollars and hour on advertising that targets the youth in America.
“Targeted marketing encourages more young people to take up this deadly addiction every day,” U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a statement. “This administration is committed to doing everything we can do to prevent our children from using tobacco.”