Last week, US Surgeon General Regina M. Benjamin released a major report on tobacco — Preventing Tobacco Use Among Youth and Young Adults. The report indicates that after years of progress, declines in the use of tobacco by youth and young adults have slowed for cigarette smoking and stalled for smokeless tobacco. Dr. Benjamin said she was ?shocked? by the numbers. Here are some highlights:
- 88% of adult cigarette smokers said they started smoking by age 18.
- One in four high school seniors and one in three young adults under age 26 smoke.
- The tobacco industry spends $10 billion a year on advertising and promotional efforts, which is extremely effective.
- Most tobacco industry marketing efforts involve promotional activities that reduce the cost of cigarettes.
- It is clear that tobacco taxes improve public health by reducing smoking among young people.
The report confirms what we already knew ? California?s Proposition 29 is a win win because the increased tobacco taxes will reduce smoking, while at the same time the revenue will be used to fight cancer in the state through research, prevention and tobacco cessation programs.