Report: Smokeless tobacco use up among students
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- A new report from the Department of Public Health shows some good news and some bad news about California students and tobacco use. The good news is that cigarette smoking has declined. But, the bad news is that the use of smokeless tobacco has jumped significantly.
Tobacco use trends in California among the young are raising some red flags at the state Department of Public Health. Nearly nine percent of stores statewide illegally sold to minors. That's up from 5.6 percent the previous year. And 18 to 24-year-olds are now smoking more than any other age group in California.
"Youth and young adults get addicted to tobacco, end up smoking their entire lives, and then they and their families suffer the consequences," DPH Director Dr. Ron Chapman said.
The state projects it'll spend $6.5 billion this year to deal with adult health care related to smoking, that's $400 per taxpayer.
It's unclear why younger people are picking up the habit. But the study noted the prevalence of smoking was higher in schools in neighborhoods with five or more stores that sell tobacco.
And smokeless products are becoming more and more popular, with nearly four percent of high school students using them.
"The smokeless tobacco products are not safer," Dr. Chapman said. "The trends, again, are very concerning."
Students tell ABC30 News they smoke because of they are stressed over rising tuition costs, juggling jobs, and classes. The young smokers we spoke with say they started in high school.
"School, trying to find a college, worrying about money and then jobs," smoker Spencer Douglas said. "I have three jobs right now. So all of that was like a lot of pressure on me."
Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids has been critical of states like California for not spending enough of their 1998 multi-billion dollar settlement from tobacco companies on smoking prevention.
Life-long smoker Keith Kimber, who also started in high school, agrees, "I just don't think they're using the funds effectively enough."
The state says for every dollar it spends on anti-smoking campaigns, the tobacco industry spends eight to attract more smokers.
"The illegal sale of tobacco to minors is a serious issue and we are committed to working with retailers and inform the public in order to stop these practices," Dr. Chapman said. "The tobacco industry's advertising tactics towards a younger audience is disturbing and shameful. It is startling that the tobacco industry spends nearly $1 million every hour to market their products nationwide."
state, nannette miranda
- 5-alarm fire destroys SF building under construction 11 min ago
- San Jose police officer facing sexual assault charges
- Feinstein: CIA improperly searched computer network
- Officials investigating acid spill at Tesoro refinery
- Family mourns young woman killed by tree
- High speed chase ends in crash in Richmond
- Balboa Park BART station reopens after fatality
- Pedestrian hit by car in downtown San Francisco crosswalk
- Lanes reopen on NB I-880 after Major-injury crash
- Report: CVS could face $29M fine for painkillers
- Pharmacist prescribes anti-monster spray for child
- roundup: Bay Area winds; Great Highway closure
- abcnews: 'The Bachelor' Finale Full Recap
- weather: Bay Area weather forecast for Tuesday
Most Viewed StoriesMost Viewed Photos