New study shows young smokers are more likely to switch from menthol to nonmenthol cigarettes
A longitudinal study of youth smoking habits suggests that many youth and young adult smokers progress from using mentholated tobacco products to preferring nonmentholated products over time. Previous studies have demonstrated that youth and young adults disproportionately choose menthol cigarettes. Patterns of smoking in the current study suggest that menthols are a "starter product" for youth; more than twice as many smokers who used mentholated cigarettes at baseline made the switch to nonmenthol products (15%), versus nonmenthol smokers who later switched to mentholated products (6.9%). In light of the findings, the researchers call upon the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to act on its authority to ban menthol products in order to prevent young people from starting to smoke. Click here to read more, or click here to read the abstract of the study in the American Journal of Public Health.
Video games and the next tobacco frontier: Smoking in the Starcraft universe
A new study found that tobacco use is prevalent in a popular video game marketed to youth ages thirteen and older. The researchers examined the use of tobacco promotion in the eighteen video shorts contained within the video game Starcraft II. They found that tobacco occupies 30% of the screen time in a single short, and that the hero of the game and other characters were frequently featured smoking cigars and cigarettes. While this game has different age ratings in different countries, the U.S. holds the lowest at age 13. The World Health Organization suggests that video games containing tobacco use should be given an adult rating. Future research needs to assess how tobacco content in video games like Starcraft II impact youth and young adults, the population that is most exposed to them. Click here to read an extract of the article in British Medical Journal.
Surgeon General's Report consumer guide now available in English and Spanish
An easy-to-read consumer guide and highlight sheets on the latest Surgeon General’s Report, Preventing Tobacco Use Among Youth And Young Adults, are now available in English and Spanish. Click here to view the consumer guide and other resources related to the report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
New National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) data: Fewer young Americans smoking
A new report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) found that from 2004 to 2010, there were significant reductions in smoking prevalence among both adolescents aged 12-17 and young adults aged 18-25. Still, as of 2010, 1 in 12 adolescents and 1 in 3 young adults had smoked in the past month. The report notes that the percentage of adolescents who report daily smoking during the past month has remained stable in recent years, and that the findings illustrate the need for continued efforts to reduce youth tobacco use. Click here to read more, or click here to view the NSDUH report, “Trends in Cigarette Use among Adolescents and Young Adults.”
Playground trade 'drives smoking' (United Kingdom)
The Institute of Education at the University of London has released a new report titled “Young People’s Access to Tobacco” that determined that young people are most likely to obtain cigarettes from their peer groups. This report was a systematic review of research that examined the habits of 9,000 smokers aged 11-18 in the United Kingdom. The researchers found that in many schools, the teens shared cigarettes openly and some sold them for profit. Additionally, older teens, boys, and more experienced smokers were more likely to get cigarettes from shops; in person or by asking someone else to buy them. This report states that it is important for schools to disrupt the exchange of tobacco among students, as it will reduce the visibility of smoking in the teens’ lives. To read more click here, and click here to access the report.
New report and film reveal shocking impact of tobacco packaging on children (United Kingdom)
A recent report, “The Packaging of Tobacco Products,” has been published along with a hard-hitting short film that shows how children are attracted to colorful, slickly designed cigarette packaging. The report and film are part of the launch of Cancer Research U.K.’s campaign called “The Answer is Plain” which asks for signatures on a petition to remove all branding from tobacco packaging. The film shows children stating reasons why they like particular attractively designed packages, and gives insight into the power of branding and marketing. The release of this report and video is timely due to recent statements by the U.K. government supporting the notion of passing a plain packaging law for tobacco products in the U.K. Click here to read more.
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