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Big Tobacco's Grip on Colleges and Students Loosens, But Still Holding Strong: New Report Examines Trends on Campuses
Date:9/7/2008

American Lung Association Calls Upon Students and University Leaders to Join the Smokefree Air 2010 Challenge and End the Addiction to Big Tobacco

WASHINGTON, Sept. 8 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- College students are falling victim to aggressive tobacco industry marketing tactics as one in five continue to smoke, according to a new report released today by the American Lung Association.

The report provides a comprehensive overview of the current status of tobacco use and policies on college and university campuses. The American Lung Association analyzed published research, surveys and tobacco industry documents to provide a wide-ranging look at the impact tobacco has in today's college life.

The report found fewer college students are smoking than ever before, but the American Lung Association warned that smoking rates were nearly this low in 1989 and then skyrocketed in the following decade to a new peak high of 30.6 percent. Contributing to that unstable smoking trend is the tobacco industry. In 2005, the tobacco industry spent more than $1 million a day sponsoring events and giveaways targeting college students. The report also notes that of 119 schools surveyed in one study, students at 109 schools reported seeing tobacco promotions in an event on campus.

"The industry's return on investment is staggering," said Bernadette A. Toomey, American Lung Association President and CEO. "Nearly 20 percent of today's college students are regular smokers. Even worse is their continued campaign to increase these numbers. Every college student in America has a target on their back as far as the tobacco industry is concerned."

The report also notes that the smoking habits of college-age adults are more fluid -- switching more easily between daily and occasional smoking -- than that of older adults. This characteristic indicates a key opportunity to intervene and reduce smoking rates among young adults.

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SOURCE American Lung Association
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