Contact: DOH Office of Communications Jessica Hammonds, Press Secretary (850) 245-4111 or Naylet Aguayo firstname.lastname@example.org (305) 573-9955 ext. 209
Dr. John Armstrong: Tobacco is Still a Serious Issue Among Florida Youth Statement from the State Surgeon General
“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a new report that shows an alarming increase in the use of non-cigarette smoked tobacco products.. Smokers are seeking lower-cost alternatives to cigarettes. Small cigars and loose tobacco are taxed at much lower rates than cigarettes, according to the report, Consumption of Cigarettes and Combustible Tobacco-United States, 2000-2011, published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). The lower costs of these products make them especially appealing to youth and young adults.
Preventing tobacco use and encouraging cessation among young people is critical in combating the tobacco epidemic because nearly nine out of 10 smokers start by age 18. Furthermore, teen bodies are more sensitive to nicotine, and teens are more easily addicted than adults.
Though cigarette smoking has declined among Florida’s youth, more Florida high school students smoke cigars than cigarettes – 13.4 percent compared to 11.9 percent respectively. Smokeless tobacco use among Florida high school students has also increased significantly, particularly among high school boys.
In recent years, the emergence of fruit- and candy-flavored tobacco products has contributed to this troubling data. Flavored tobacco products are widely considered to be starter products, establishing a pattern of tobacco use that can lead to addiction. Studies have shown that youth erroneously believe flavored tobacco products to be less harmful than their non-flavored counterparts.
Supporting programs and initiatives that discourage all forms of tobacco use is as imperative as it has ever been. Helping to prevent youth tobacco initiation is a critical step in protecting Floridians from the devastating toll of tobacco use.
Whether a parent uses tobacco is a prominent influence on a youth’s decision to use tobacco. One important way Floridians can help prevent tobacco use is by quitting tobacco. Tobacco users are encouraged to utilize the Florida Department of Health’s free resources and materials to quit. For more information, visit www.tobaccofreeflorida.com or call the Florida Quitline at 1-877-U-CAN-NOW.”
The Florida Department of Health’s mission is to protect and promote the health of all residents and visitors in the state through organized state and community efforts, including cooperative agreements with counties.
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ABOUT TOBACCO FREE FLORIDA Tobacco Free Florida is a statewide cessation and prevention campaign funded by Florida’s tobacco settlement fund. The program is managed by the Florida Department of Health, specifically the Bureau of Tobacco Free Florida.
Smokers and smokeless tobacco users interested in quitting are encouraged to call the Florida Quitline at 1-877-U-CAN-NOW to speak with a Quit Coach. To learn about Tobacco Free Florida and the state’s free quit smoking resources, visit www.tobaccofreeflorida.com or follow the campaign on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TobaccoFreeFlorida or Twitter at www.twitter.com/tobaccofreefla.Tweet