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Statement by the American Legacy Foundation(R) on Youth Smoking Rates
Date:12/11/2007

Monitoring the Future Study Reports Mixed Messages - Good News on Youngest Teens, While Older Teens' Smoking Rates Remain Stagnant

WASHINGTON, Dec. 11 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- New data announced in today's Monitoring the Future study shows youth smoking rates among 8th graders have declined significantly, but that the declines for 10th graders are statistically insignificant and for 12th graders are at a stand still. For the fourth consecutive year, the rates for 10th and 12th graders stayed flat, a trend that now threatens the historic near 30-year decline in youth smoking.

The report, conducted by the University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research, funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and now in its 33rd year, is a highly respected source for data about youth smoking. Despite the encouraging news about 8th graders, overall the findings are a troubling indication that much more needs to be done to keep youth from starting to smoke.

The public health community, doctors and parents must work together to foster a continued rate of decline. The Master Settlement Agreement reached in 1998 between attorneys general from 46 states, five U.S. territories and the tobacco industry provided our country with a unique opportunity - and with focused funding -- to address youth smoking and help smokers who want to quit.

Furthering that message, in May of this year, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) released a report, hailed as a blueprint for addressing smoking at various levels in Americans' lives. In the report, the IOM indicated that if, as a nation, we commit ourselves to implementing the recommendations found in the report, we can reduce smoking prevalence rates to 10 percent by the year 2025; save millions of lives; and serve as a model for developing nations where smoking rates are climbing dramatically.

One of the recommendations called for in the IOM report called for "a national youth-oriented media
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SOURCE American Legacy Foundation
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