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New Survey Shows Continued Progress in Reducing Youth Smoking; Congress, States Can Accelerate Declines by Implementing Proven Solutions
Date:12/11/2008

that scientifically proven solutions, implemented primarily at the state and local level, are working. These include higher cigarette prices resulting from state cigarette tax increases and the 1998 state tobacco settlement; effective, well-funded tobacco prevention programs run by some states and nationally by the American Legacy Foundation; and a growing number of state and local laws requiring smoke-free workplaces and public places.

However, smoking declines among both youth and adults have slowed in recent years, following budget cuts to some tobacco prevention and cessation programs and huge increases in tobacco marketing expenditures. From 1998 to 2005, tobacco marketing nearly doubled from $6.9 billion to $13.4 billion, according to the most recent Federal Trade Commission data. Tobacco companies now spend the bulk of their marketing budgets on price discounts, which undermine efforts to discourage smoking by increasing cigarette prices.

The Monitoring the Future survey shows the impact of these harmful trends. It finds a statistically significant decline in smoking this year only among 10th graders. There has not been a statistically significant year-to-year decline in smoking among 12th graders since 2003, and 20.4 percent of high school seniors still smoke.

There is even greater cause for concern this year. The country's serious economic downturn - and resulting state budget shortfalls - have already resulted in cuts to tobacco prevention efforts and greater cuts are threatened. If the states cut funding for these important and effective programs, the progress we've made will be put at risk. The states this year will collect $24.6 billion in revenue from the tobacco settlement and tobacco taxes, so they have plenty of tobacco money to fund tobacco prevention.

There is no question that we know how to win the fight against tobacco use. What's needed is the politi
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SOURCE Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
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