National Youth Tobacco Survey 2011-2016

Every year the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention puts out an annual report on tobacco use among youth. This report uses information and patterns from the 2011-2016 National Youth Tobacco Surveys (NYTS) to determine the “current (past 30-day) use of seven tobacco product types among U.S. middle (grades 6-8) and high (9-12) school students.”  The current report shows good news with e-cigarette use declining since the first reporting of it in 2011.  Cigarette use also continues to decrease.

According to the report of those surveyed, 7.2% (1 in 14) of middle school and 20.2% (1 in 5) of high school students reported current tobacco product use in 2016.  Electronic cigarettes were the most commonly used tobacco product with 11.3% of high school and 4.3% of middle school students using them in 2016.

A further breakdown of the numbers for high school students shows that of the 20.2% (estimated to be 3.05 million) reporting current use of any product, 9.6% (1.44 million) reported using 2 or more products.  The breakdown of products and usage include: e-cigarettes (11.3%), cigarettes (8.0%), cigars (7.7%), smokeless tobacco (5.8%), hookahs (4.8%), pipe tobacco (1.4%), and bidis (0.5%).  Males (23.5%) were more likely than females (17.0%) to use any tobacco product.

Of middle school students, 7.2% (0.85 million) reported current use of any tobacco products with 3.1% (0.36 million) reporting current use of 2 or more products.  Popularity of tobacco products among middle school students follows that of high school with e-cigarettes most commonly used (4.3%), followed by cigarettes (2.2%), cigars (2.2%), smokeless tobacco (2.2%), hookahs (2.0%), pipe tobacco (0.7%), and bidis (0.3%).  Middle school males (8.3%) were more likely than females (5.9%) to use any tobacco product.

The most significant changes were observed in 2015-2016 among high school students as current use of any tobacco product, any combustible tobacco product, 2 or more tobacco products, and hookahs all declined.  E-cigarette use saw a decrease of 16.0% to 11.3% for 2015-2016.  Middle school students also saw a decline in e-cigarette use from 5.3% in 2015 to 4.3% in 2016.

Nearly 90% of all tobacco use starts before teens turn 18, the legal age to purchase tobacco in much of the U.S., and nearly 4 million middle and high school students are using tobacco products according to the report.  While increases and decreases of current tobacco use may be difficult to remember, one fact remains: tobacco use continues to be the leading cause of preventable diseases and death in the United States.

Here in Florida, we hope to further the decline among students by offering the Florida Tobacco Prevention Training for Educators online course to all Florida teachers, administrators, and school counselors at no cost to participants or their districts through the Florida Department of Education Office of Healthy Schools.  At the completion of the course, participants teach six (6) tobacco prevention lessons and are awarded either 30- or 60 points depending on the course.  Last year our participants taught lessons to over 16,000 students.  Let’s work together to reach as many Florida students as possible and make tobacco addiction a thing of the past.

Click HERE for the complete report: Tobacco Use Among Middle and High School Students – United States, 2011-2016

 

 

 

 

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Desire to quit tobacco high among some young smokers

Nicotine is the naturally occurring drug found in tobacco and the reason why most users are addicted.  In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), more people in the U.S. are addicted to nicotine than to any other drug.  But the problem reaches much farther than the U.S. boundaries; it is a worldwide health problem that kills 6 million people a year by getting them and keeping them hooked to the nicotine in tobacco, and it starts in the teen years.

In the CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report for May 26, 2017, data from the Global Youth Tobacco Survey from 61 countries during 2012 to 2015 was analyzed to determine the current smoking rate and the desire to quit among students 13-15 years of age.  They found the median current smoking prevalence was 10.7% and ranged from 1.7% in Sri Lanka to 35.0% in Timor-Leste, both countries in the South East Asian Region.

The median current tobacco smoking was higher for boys at 14.6% than for girls at 7.5%.  Again, South East Asian Region had the highest prevalence of boys smoking with Indonesia at 35.5% and Timor-Leste at 61.4%.   But in several countries, the prevalence of girls smoking was higher than boys: Mozambique, Belarus, Bulgaria, Italy, Portugal, San Marino, Argentina, and Uruguay.  Bulgaria reported the highest smoking rate among girls at 29.0%.

The numbers of young smokers in these countries may be high, but the desire to quit is much higher.  According to the report, 51 of the 61 countries assessed the desire to quit among the young smokers and found it exceeded 50% in 40 of the countries which report it.   The numbers ranged from 32.1% in Uruguay to 90.2% in the Philippines.

Hopefully, information from this report will help those countries determine the right course to take to protect their young people from the marketing and use of tobacco.

Click HERE for the summary article and HERE for the actual MMWR report

 

 

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The top 3 diseases caused by smoking

Everyone knows smoking causes cancer and other health-related illnesses, but no one seems to take smoking-related diseases seriously until they are diagnosed with one.  How can you ignore that first warning sign when you cough every morning upon waking?  And if you start smoking in your early teens, by the time you are legal age to smoke, you are already on your way to early cardiovascular disease.  You don’t have to be old to be affected by smoking.

Take cancer for example.  No one wants to get cancer, yet everyday millions of people intentionally use a product known to cause this disease.  While most immediately think of lung cancer, there are at least 13 other cancers, including acute myeloid leukemia, that could affect you.  With nearly 70 cancer-causing chemicals in cigarette smoke, including heavy metals and radioactive elements, and 7,000 other chemicals in the smoke, any one of them could start a growth.   The probabilities of some of these cancers in smokers are staggering: lung cancer increases by 15X; throat and uterine cancer 16X; oral cancer 10X; and the risk of bladder and prostate cancers double.

If you don’t develop cancer, there is cardiovascular disease, which includes heart disease, atherosclerosis, peripheral arterial diseases, abdominal aortic aneurysm and stroke, and is the single largest cause of death in the U.S.  The chemicals in the smoke causes inflammation in the blood vessels which causes them to swell and narrow.  The arteries become less flexible, and fat and cholesterol builds up along the artery walls making it more difficult for blood to move through the vessels.  The blood also thickens which can cause clots to form in the narrowed veins and arteries in the heart, and if clots form in the brain it can lead to stroke.  Vessels in the arms, hands, legs and feet can also be affected by narrowing and decreased blood flow can result in amputations.  The aorta, the main artery carrying oxygen-rich blood through the body can be weakened or form a bulge by smoking.

Respiratory diseases are also too common among smokers, but genetics can also play a part in who develops this disease.  Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, is the third leading cause of death in the U.S. and includes lung diseases such as emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and asthma.  8 out of 10 cases are caused by smoking and secondhand smoke, although the COPD Foundation site says the number is closer to 90%.  If you are 40 years of age or older, a smoker or former smoker and have “breathlessness, frequent coughing, wheezing, and tightness in the chest,” you need to speak to a doctor.  While there is no cure for COPD, the earlier the symptoms are treated and managed, the better the outcome.

While the above diseases are usually seen in older smokers, yellow teeth and wrinkled dry skin starts early and quickly ages a smoker.  If you started smoking to look older, you achieved your goal.  Here’s another goal to think about: 70% of adult smokers want to quit.  These diseases don’t care how old you are when they develop, and you don’t have to wait until you develop one of them to stop smoking.  The sooner you quit, the sooner your body starts healing.  Below are some links to help you on your way to your new smoke-free life.

Tobacco Free Florida
1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669)
Smokefree Teen

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World No Tobacco Day 2017

According to the World Health Organization, tobacco use harms more than just the smoker.  Its far-reaching economic impact affects families, businesses, and the health of each nation.  But there are ways to combat the threat of tobacco throughout the world.

Families with a smoker often struggle to make a living as money that should go towards food, housing, clothing, education and medicines is diverted to buy tobacco.  This economic impact can be felt by families throughout the world, but especially by those in developing nations whose earning power is lower and poverty rates higher.   The strain for families is further increased when the major breadwinner is medically unable to provide for his family due to smoking-related health issues or dies from tobacco use.

Economies in developing nations are also strained as more money goes to health-care due to tobacco-related diseases and less can be used for economic growth and development.  According to the World Health Organization, “some 80% of premature deaths from tobacco occur in low- or middle-income countries, which face increased challenges to achieving their development goals.”  Land that should be used for viable food crops are often used to grow tobacco, destroying the soil and polluting the water from pesticides and fertilizers.  “Global deforestation between 2% and 4% each year” further hurts the environment and “produces over 2 million tonnes of solid waste.”

There are ways for countries to protect their citizens from tobacco and improve their economies.  Increase tobacco control by requiring plain packaging, restrict where tobacco can be sold and to whom.  Increasing tobacco taxes would raise money for development as well as reduce tobacco use among the poor who are already hurt by using tobacco.  Providing assistance to farmers to improve the land for food crops would improve the health of all citizens and spur economic development.  And urge those who are using tobacco to quit by providing free help and provide tobacco education in all schools.

According to the WHO, there are “more than 7 million deaths from tobacco every year, a figure that is predicted to grow to more than 8 million a year by 2030 without intensified action.”  It doesn’t matter where you live in the world, tobacco is a threat for the health and well-being of every nation.

Click HERE for more information on World No Tobacco Day

 

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Tobacco ads during April 2017

The tobacco industry is still prompting many contests and sweepstakes along with special offers and new advertisements.  Here are just a sample from their promotions offered during April and sent out in May by Trinkets and Trash.  One of the promos was actually anApril Fool’s joke on unsuspecting tobacco users.

Grizzly dip sent out a fool’s joke offering a free sample of “Bonfire Cologne” with the scents of “smoldering, hand chopped North Alabama Spruce – plus a handful of dry leaves, a few pinecones, a foam cup and a splash of lighter fluid.” Sounds like a recipe for arson.  The joke was on their users as the site proclaimed “the only scent we care about is the sweet scent of premium dip.”

Marlboro went all out by offering three different contests in April. One promotes their menthol cigarettes where contestants have to chose the correct menthol product from the hints in the “master taste blender” quote. Do contestants know the “master” is a chemist in a lab, and do these blenders actually try this stuff?   Another contest gives email subscribers the chance to visit the Marlboro ranch.  We hope you aren’t thinking you will meet the Marlboro Man.  Four of them have died from smoking-related diseases.

The third Marlboro contest was the most interesting in that users chose one of six locations on the Continental Divide they would like to visit and had to write about it.  According to Trinkets and Trash “Traditional Marlboros and the brand’s social responsibility and corporate altruism were promoted via its ‘Team Marlboro – Undivided’ sweepstakes.”  Does this tobacco company know the meaning “social responsibility”?   The definition for altruism is “the belief in or practice of disinterested and selfless concern for the well-being of others,” which is the complete opposite of what the tobacco industry is all about.  Of course altruistic corporate social responsibility is about “voluntarily donating time and/or money towards certain groups of stakeholders, even if the commitment sacrifices part of the business profitability”, according to the Wikipedia definition.  So spending money on contests which lure tobacco users into continuing to use a product for the chance to win a prize is considered a sacrifice on the part of the tobacco company? Marlboro users also had chance to receive a $2.27 coupon off Marlboro’s Bend No. 27 by unlocking a code.  The coupon will reduce the cost of the product and once again keep users hooked.  Guess this is part of their altruism.

You may think the tobacco companies are great for all these promotions they seem to be handing out for free, but you the user are paying for them with your life. Quitting tobacco would put more money in your pocket and give you a free coupon for more years to spend with your family and friends.  It’s the best deal out there.

Click HERE for the Trinkets and Trash April edition.

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E-cigarette companies and their leaders charged with deception

You think you know that e-cigarettes are safer than cigarettes, but only because the e-cigarette industry has led you to believe that.  After all, the industry says they don’t have all those chemicals found in cigarettes.  Australia, the first country to bring plain packaging for cigarettes, is now the first country “to successfully take legal action against e-cigarette companies for making false and misleading claims about the carcinogens in their products.”

Three companies, Joystick Company, Social-Lites and Elusion Australia along with their CEOs and directors, have been ordered to pay penalties for breaching consumer law. All three companies admit to the deception as statements on their websites “led consumers to believe they would not be exposed to the harmful chemicals found in ordinary cigarettes.” However, testing done on samples found formaldehyde, acetaldehyde and acrolein in the products of all three manufacturers with the addition of acetone found in Social-Lite’s products.

It seems that these e-cigarettes also claimed they are not a therapeutic device yet their websites urge smokers to use them in their desire to quit.  Claiming them as therapeutic requires them to follow certain regulations.  The companies also claimed that e-cigarettes are safe or harmless when in fact there are no long-term studies to back up that claim nor any studies to prove the devices have helped smokers “quit for good.”

It is time that e-cigarette users, no matter where they live, learn the truths about the products they are using.  It will be interesting to see if U.S. e-cigarette companies make changes to their claims following the Australian outcome.

Click HERE for the article.

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Participant blog: Diamonds Are Made Under Pressure

From time to time we share some of the work of our participants as they go through the Florida Tobacco Prevention Training for Educators online course.  Juan A. from Miami-Dade County Schools wrote an essay for his refusal skills assignment and has graciously given us permission to share it with you.

Diamonds Are Made Under Pressure

Our students are at risk every day, of doing something they might regret down the line, because they were “following the crowd”. Whether it be not doing homework to hang out with friends, dressing in a way that doesn’t resonate with their personality, or even taking drugs. We need to teach our kids from an early age not just to say no, but why they are saying no and the consequences of their actions. When children learn to think for themselves and make their own decisions, this can positively impact them in the future, such as making the right choice when they come across situations that will challenge their morals and their upbringing.

Sometimes our children will be playing with their friends when a situation like this arises. For example, if a student has an older brother or sister, they might be more desensitized to drugs. This might prompt that student to invite their friends to try drugs or cigarettes with them, maybe because they want to see what the big deal is. It is important that students learn to say no, in ways like “No, thank you”, and “I don’t think this is something we should be doing”. We should also teach students that if the person pressuring them persists, they must stand their ground and not allow the other person to force them to make a decision that they are uncomfortable with. If the person still continues, then the child can either change the topic, or just leave.

When students are at a young age, peer pressure is especially strong to resist, because most children just want to fit in and look “cool”. This means that saying no is tough, because children think they will lose their friends. Students need to know that it is ok to not want to do everything that their friends do, which is where our individuality comes from. If they still think that they will lose their friend, then we remind them that a friend who wants them to do something that causes them harm is not really that great a friend.

Great friends are ones who do things that are clearly to help one another, and they respect who you are as a person. If dealing with an older school population, we can also remind them that these are also things that make a great partner. Peers and significant others are always going to influence us, and the way we live our lives. But this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. We are products of the decisions that we make, both from things we’ve done, and things we haven’t done.  For example, if your best friend has a new favorite book, you are likely to read it, since you want to see what is the big deal! But if a close friend is doing something that you know they shouldn’t, you can find someone that you trust to talk to. A parent or teacher will do their best to guide you in the right direction, but it is up to you to seek out the help.

Peer pressure is a part of life, and as any part of life, it can be good or bad depending on how you react in certain situations. And if a student is unsure of how to say no, remind them that they can say no thank you, seek out someone they respect, and that a good friend won’t mind if they say no. If you feel pressured, take a second, take a breath and remember, diamonds are made under pressure.

Tobacco prevention lessons have been taught to over 9,500 students so far this year through the Florida Tobacco Prevention Training for Educators online course.  Juan is just one of the 600 participants who enrolled in this year’s course and will be making a difference in the lives of his students by teaching them the dangers of tobacco and nicotine products and helping them make informed decisions about tobacco in the future.

The Florida Tobacco Prevention Training for Educators online course is now closed for registration.  We will open again in August.  Check out our site for videos and other activities.

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New UK smoking and vaping laws to begin in May

The UK is set for some big changes in smoking laws, from price increases and package size to plain packaging, starting May 21st in hopes of encouraging older smokers to quit while discouraging youth from picking up the habit.  Vaping, which the UK hopes will replace cigarettes, will also have changes.

Prior to these new changes, smokers have been able to buy 10-packs, but that has now been banned. Instead, smokers will only be able to purchase their cigarettes in plain packages in the ‘”world’s ugliest colour” opaque couche,’  a muddy green. Forget looking for fruit, candy, spice, herbs, alcohol and vanilla flavored cigarettes as those have been banned as well.  And menthol cigarettes will start a slow demise as they are being phased out and will no longer be available by 2020.   The cheapest pack of cigarettes has also gone up and will now cost £8.82 or $11.41 as of today’s exchange rate.  Want to roll your own?  Loose tobacco, which was sold in 10g and 20g packets now have a minimum of 30g per bag.

So why the plain packs?  According to a public survey conducted in 2015, 72% support them versus 15% who were against them.  Removing the branding and coloring changes the “attitudes and beliefs”  and myths that some products were actually less harmful if sold in lighter colored packaging.  The new packs will also have larger warning labels.   Side-slide packs will also be discontinued.  Australia was the first country to make plain packaging the law and they have had success in reducing “daily smokers to just 13% of the population.”

Tobacco users in the UK aren’t the only ones seeing new laws; vaping will have a few of their own including the size of the tanks and the strength of the liquids.  Tank size will be regulated to “no more than 2ml,” with liquids sold in 10ml refill containers.  Nicotine strength can be “no more than 20mg/ml,” and products containing nicotine must be in child-resistant packaging as well as be tamper proof.  Labeling requirements and warnings of liquids are also part of the law.  Not all ingredients in the liquids will be allowed, including coloring, caffeine and taurine, an ingredient found in energy drinks.  And manufacturers have to inform the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (similar to our FDA) about new products.  Some e-cig users have suggested they will turn to the internet and buy their liquids from manufacturers abroad.  The new regulations don’t touch disposable e-cigs or liquids with 0% nicotine.

Of course the world’s top four tobacco firms filed legal motions against the changes stating “there was a lack of evidence that plain packaging would deter smokers,” and the changes would “destroy their property rights by making products indistinguishable from each other.”  Their legal maneuvers failed.  The next country to take up plain packaging is France starting January 1.  These new laws just help the U.S. get one step closer to putting plain packaging regulations in our country.

Click HERE and HERE for the articles to this story.

 

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/smoking-law-changes-tobacco-cigarette-rules-explained-21-may-a7723561.html

 

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9th Annual Tobacco Free Florida Week

You go into the convenience store and throw down your bills or slide your card for a pack of cigarettes or a can a dip, but have you ever taken the time to add up what tobacco is really costing you?  There is no better time than Tobacco Free Florida Week as they want to raise awareness about the true cost of smoking.  Your habit affects more than just you.

If you buy a pack of cigarettes a day at $6.00/pack, you have spent $42/week or $2,184/year.  And in 10 years you have spent $21,840.  That is a lot of money for a product that makes you sicker each time you use it.  It also affects your family because it is money that isn’t going towards necessities like housing, food, clothing, transportation or medical needs.   What can you expect to see when you give tobacco up?

First, you have more money in your pocket.  Your health starts to improve almost immediately.  You will be spending more time with your family and less time on tobacco breaks.  You will miss less work which will save your employer money.  And if you have paid health insurance through an employer, you may see lower insurance rates.

In fact, between 2007 and 2015 when adult smoking rates decreased in our state, the “cumulative smoking-related health care costs” decreased 16 percent and saved Florida approximately $17.7 billion, $3.2 million just in 2015 alone.  If the smoking rate keeps going down, Florida could see a savings of $8.2 billion between “2016 and 2020 in cumulative smoking-related personal health care.”  That’s money businesses can use for other things, like expansion and raises.

For the past nine years, Tobacco Free Florida has been there to help residents take back their life from tobacco.  Since the program began “159,000 Floridians have successfully quit using one of Tobacco Free Florida’s free tools and services.”  Because of their efforts, the current adult smoking rate is at a record low of 15.8%.

So what exactly is the cost of your smoking?  Click Cost of Smoking to find out.

If you have thought about quitting, contact Tobacco Free Florida’s Quit Your Way services at http://www.tobaccofreeflorida.com or follow the campaign on Facebook at
http://www.facebook.com/TobaccoFreeFlorida or on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/tobaccofreefla.

Click HERE for the news article.  And HERE to take you to Tobacco Free Florida’s Quit Your Way website.

 

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Astroturfing, Grassroots and the Tobacco Industry

Need information about tobacco and electronic cigarettes?  You simply go to your computer and type “electronic cigarettes” or “tobacco ” into the search bar of your browser.  But are you getting information from a grassroots organization that can help you make an informed decision, or was the article written by a fake person or group who wants a sympathetic public for their cause?   Fake news seems to be the latest buzz word in the media these days, but astroturfing has been around and seems to be gaining in popularity, even in the tobacco industry.

A prime example of this was found in Australia, the first country in the world to make it mandatory that all cigarette packs adopt a “plain packaging” design to make them look similar and remove individual branding.  Prior to the Australian Tobacco Plain Packaging Act going into effect in December 2011, the Alliance of Australian Retailers (AAR) took out full-page ads against the new law.  This group said they represented those who would be hurt the most by this: “the owners of your local corner stores, milk bars, newsagents and service stations.”  The AAR group was supposedly the mouth for the little people in order for them to be heard.  But leaked documents revealed the tobacco industry was funding the group and had tobacco industry insiders providing input to defeat the law.  Once this information was made public, groups who once sided with the AAR withdrew from it.  The plain packaging law went into effect and has had the outcome the health advocates expected, teen smoking is at its lowest level since 1984, with about 5% of 12-17 year olds reported as current smokers, down from 7% before the law went into effect.  It hasn’t stopped the tobacco industry from continually warning about or threatening the economy with black market cigarettes.

Here in the states, the tobacco industry has always worked behind the scenes setting the tone of tobacco laws.  Back in the 1980s they worked  to create the appearance of a grassroots movement of citizens opposed to tobacco control policies.  In the 1990s the tobacco industry tried to create and fund a ‘smokers’ rights movement.’

The Tea Party is a prime example as they “promote less government regulation and lower taxes,” but special interest groups and corporations behind the scenes are funding, organizing, training, and pulling the strings of those in the front.  Groups set up and funded by the tobacco industry, but implemented by PR firms include, Americans for Prosperity (AFP) and FreedomWorks which support the tobacco industry’s agenda to oppose tobacco taxes and smoke-free laws.  FreedomWorks has taken that agenda and trained activists in 30 other “countries including Israel, Georgia, Japan, Nigeria and Serbia.” Other groups that worked for the tobacco industry included CSE (Citizens for a Sound Economy) and NSA (National Smokers’ Alliance).

Publications put out by these groups also “disputed the health effects of secondhand smoke, promoted ‘choice’ and individual rights and encouraged smokers to defend their rights and freedoms.”  They opposed the OSHA regulation of secondhand smoke in the workplace, as well as the FDA regulation of the industry starting in the mid 1990s.  They also opposed the 1994 healthcare reform because of a $0.75 cigarette tax to help fund it.  And any time your state decides to increase the tobacco tax, you can be assured these groups will be opposing that too.  The flow chart above shows the connections the tobacco industry has with organizations and people.

The tobacco industry doesn’t oppose legislation because it’s not fair for smokers, it is because it will effect the tobacco industry’s bottom line.  The next time you see opposition to increase tobacco taxes and protect public health, you have to ask yourself, “who is really behind the curtain?”

 

To read more about third-party efforts of the tobacco industry, click HERE.
Other sites used include:  Astroturfing
The top image is from the site: Astroturfing
The bottom flow chart is from the site: Tobacco Control

 

 

 

 

 

 

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