WEDNESDAY, Jan. 9 (HealthDay News) -- North Carolina, a
tobacco-growing state, does a lot to protect smoking: Its cigarette
taxes are nearly the lowest in the country, and it only banned
smoking in most restaurants, bars and hotels in 2010. But a newly
reported survey suggests that its teenagers aren't fans of
More than 80 percent of 3,805 middle-school students surveyed
said smoking shouldn't be allowed at home, indoors at work or in
cars. Slightly fewer (78 percent) of 3,301 high-school students
were onboard with these restrictions, but most still liked not
allowing smoking in homes and a few other places.
The surveys didn't ask students about whether smoking in these
areas should be legal. And, of course, they can't vote until
they're 18, so their ability to push for change is limited, at
least for a while.
Still, the results show that "it's very clear, that teens and
youth want to eliminate smoking in indoor and outdoor places," said
study co-author Leah Ranney, associate director at University of
North Carolina at Chapel Hill's Tobacco Prevention and Evaluation
The researchers surveyed students in 2009. "They're aware of the
harmful effects of secondhand smoke exposure, and they understand
the benefits of smoke-free policies," Ranney said. "It tells you
how effective our campaigns were. We are a tobacco-growing state,
which makes it more challenging for us to successfully promote
prevention of uptake of tobacco or cessation."
Among the middle-school students, 86 percent supported never
allowing smoking in indoor workplaces. The numbers for other places
were: homes (84 percent), vehicles (82 percent), indoor public
places (79 percent) and outdoor public places (63 percent).
Support for restrictions was slightly lower for high school
students overall, and lowest for student smokers who did not want
to quit. Among this group, 64 percent said smoking should never be
allowed in homes. The numbers for other places were: vehicles (37
percent), indoor workplaces (61 percent), indoor public places (59
percent) and outdoor public places (30 percent).
Ranney said the results are similar to those from American and
worldwide surveys. "Adult leaders need to listen to this and adopt
policies to protect youth from secondhand smoke," she said.
Danny McGoldrick, vice president of research at the Campaign for
Tobacco-Free Kids, said smoking rates among teens have fallen by
half since the 1990s, when they were skyrocketing.
According to federal figures, the percentage of high school
students who said they smoked cigarettes within the last 30 days
fell from 36 percent in 1997 to 20 percent in 2009.
Why? "We know increasing taxes reduces smoking, and we know that
passing smoke-free laws does," he said.
Cheryl Healton, president and CEO of the anti-smoking American
Legacy Foundation, put it this way: "The price has gone up and the
number of places you can smoke has gone down."
The study appears in the Jan. 3 issue of the U.S. Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention's
Preventing Chronic Disease.
For more about
teen smoking, try the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
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