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Fewer Middle School, High School Kids Smoking

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CBS Miami (con't)

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TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami) – Fewer middle school and high school students are smoking cigarettes or using smokeless tobacco, according to 2011 Florida Youth Tobacco Survey.

Compared to last year, this data shows a decrease of 9.2 percent among high school students and a decrease of 28.6 percent among middle school students.

According to the 2010 survey, 2.7% percent of middle schoolers in Broward said they smoked cigarettes on one or more of the past 30 days compared to a statewide average of 4.9%. At the high school level, 8% said they smoked cigarettes in the last 30 days compared to the 13.1% statewide. When it came to not using any tobacco products, 73.8% of middle schoolers said they had never smoked or used smokeless tobacco compared to the state average of 68.6%. At the high school level, 62.4% said they had never smoked or used smokeless tobacco compared to the 55.4% statewide average.

In Miami-Dade, 3.6% percent of middle schoolers said they smoked cigarettes on one or more of the past 30 days compared to a statewide average of 4.9%. At the high school level, 8.7% said they smoked cigarettes in the last 30 days compared to the 13.1% statewide. When it came to not using any tobacco products, 67.1% of middle schoolers said they had never smoked or used smokeless tobacco compared to the state average of 68.6%. At the high school level, 60.3% said they had never smoked or used smokeless tobacco compared to the 55.4% statewide average.

In Monroe County, 5.3% percent of middle schoolers said they smoked cigarettes on one or more of the past 30 days compared to a statewide average of 4.9%. At the high school level, 19.8% said they smoked cigarettes in the last 30 days compared to the 13.1% statewide. When it came to not using any tobacco products, 66.5% of middle schoolers said they had never smoked or used smokeless tobacco compared to the state average of 68.6%. At the high school level, 45.9% said they had never smoked or used smokeless tobacco compared to the 55.4% statewide average.

This year the numbers were even better; 11.9 percent of high school students and 3.5 percent of middle school students statewide reported that they smoked at least once during the past 30 days.

More significantly, since the Tobacco Free Florida campaign launched in 2007, 17.9 percent fewer high school students and 42.6 percent fewer middle school students in Florida were current cigarettes smokers.

And it was not just the children who were impacted by the state’s anti-tobacco campaigns.

Tobacco Free Florida said from 2007 to 2010, the smoking rate for adults in Florida decreased by 18.6 percent, resulting in nearly half a million fewer Floridian adult smokers an estimated savings of as much as $4.2 billion in personal health care expenditures.

“The continued decrease in the smoking prevalence rate among our state’s youth is a clear indication of the effectiveness of our tobacco prevention programs,” said Dr. Frank Farmer, Florida’s State Surgeon General. “However, tobacco prevention remains a critical issue in Florida where tobacco use remains the number one cause of disease and preventable death.”

Despite the promising decline of cigarette smoking among youth, the prevalence of smokeless tobacco use has trended upward among Florida youth over the past several years. This is consistent with an increase in smokeless tobacco use nationwide.

Smokeless tobacco products are perceived to be less harmful. But in reality, these products contain more nicotine than cigarettes and 28 cancer-causing agents.

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