WASHINGTON, Jan. 17, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is a Statement of Matthew L. Myers President, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids:
A study published today in the American Journal of Public Health provides compelling new evidence that states can significantly reduce youth smoking by implementing well-funded tobacco prevention programs, increasing the price of cigarettes through higher taxes and enacting strong smoke-free air laws. The study found that, between 2002 and 2008, each of these measures separately contributed to declines in youth smoking and together they reduced the number of youth smokers by about 220,000.
The study also found that states could achieve far greater gains if they more fully implemented these proven strategies. For example, the study found that a doubling of cigarette prices would reduce current youth smoking by 13 percent, the largest reduction among the policy interventions studied. This study is further evidence that we know how to win the fight against tobacco use – the nation's number one cause of preventable death – but need the political will to implement the solutions we know work.The study assessed the associations between state policies to reduce tobacco use and youth smoking outcomes, focusing on youths aged 12 to 17. It found that tobacco prevention programs, cigarette price increases and an expansion of smoke-free laws each contributed to declines in current youth smoking during the 2002-2008 period studied (although price increases were modest during this period). The researchers concluded, "Had the policies remained unchanged, the prevalence of current smoking nationally would have been 9.7 percent higher in 2008 than the actual rate, or roughly 220,000 more youth smokers." Given the overwhelming evidence that these tobacco prevention policies work, it is disappointing and inexcusable that most states have failed to fully implement these measures and in fact have gone backward in recent years.