After years of success in the fight against teen smoking, a report from the Surgeon General says that declines in usage of tobacco among teens has slowed for cigarette smoking and stalled for smokeless tobacco.
The report, "Preventing Tobacco Use Among Youth and Young Adults," finds that 3,800 children under age 18 begin smoking each day; moreover, one in four high school seniors smokes, as does one in three young adults under age 26. And of every three young smokers, only one will eventually quit.
"We know what works to prevent tobacco use among young people," Surgeon General Regina Benjamin,MD, wrote in the report. "By strengthening and continuing to build upon effective policies and programs, we can help make our next generation tobacco free."
The report also notes that each year, cigarette smoking alone costs the U.S. $96 billion in direct medical costs and $97 billion in lost productivity.
"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," said John R. Seffrin,PhD, CEO of the American CancerSociety and a Research!America Board member.