We may have smoke-free workplaces, but tobacco is still the number one cause of preventable death in Wisconsin. An average of 7,000 Wisconsinites die each year from smoking related illnesses, and 88% of daily smokers report having started smoking before the age of 18. In recent years, tobacco use had been gradually declining. However, due to electronic smoking devices, nicotine and tobacco use are again on the rise. Findings from the National Youth Tobacco Survey show that more than 1.78 million middle and high school students nationwide had tried e-cigarettes.
“The increased use of e-cigarettes by teens is deeply troubling,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “Nicotine is a highly addictive drug. Many teens who start with e-cigarettes may be condemned to struggling with a lifelong addiction to nicotine and conventional cigarettes.”
The study also found that 76.3 percent of middle and high school students who used e-cigarettes within the past 30 days also smoked conventional cigarettes in the same period. In addition, 1 in 5 middle school students who reported ever using e-cigarettes say they have never tried conventional cigarettes. This raises concern that there may be young people for whom e-cigarettes could be an entry point to use of conventional tobacco products, including cigarettes.
Factors Associated With Youth Tobacco Use
Social and Physical Environments
Small Social Groups: Family and Peer Group
Young people are more likely to use tobacco if they perceive tobacco use is acceptable or normative among their peers
Parental smoking may promote smoking among young people
Cognitive and Affective Processes
There is a strong relationship between youth smoking and negative affect, such as depression, anxiety, and stress.
Expectations of positive outcomes from smoking, such as coping with stress and controlling weight, are related to youth tobacco use.
Other influences that have been demonstrated to affect tobacco use include:
- Low socioeconomic status
- Lack of skills to resist influences to tobacco use
- Lack of parental support or involvement
- Accessibility, availability, and price of tobacco products
- Low levels of academic achievement
- Low self-image or self-esteem
- Exposure to tobacco advertising
- Aggressive behavior (e.g., fighting, carrying weapons)
Reducing Youth Tobacco Use
- Comprehensive school-based tobacco-use prevention policies and programs (e.g., tobacco-free campuses)
- Community interventions that reduce tobacco advertising, promotions, and commercial availability of tobacco product
Clark County resources to quit smoking