Survey: Teens Favor Smoking Bans
North Carolina is a tobacco-growing state, and its cigarette taxes are one of the lowest in the country. It banned smoking in many restaurants, bars and hotels only in 2010. However, North Carolina middle-school students support smoking restrictions in homes and public places, according to a report published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Preventing Chronic Disease. Study co-author Leah Ranney, associate director at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Tobacco Prevention and Evaluation Program and her team surveyed more than 3,800 high school students and found that more than 80% believe that smoking should not be allowed at home, at work, or in cars.
Although these students cannot vote until they are 18 years old, the results show that that the youth want to eliminate smoking in indoor and outdoor places, says Ranney. She adds that their ability to push for change may be limited, but the youngsters are aware of the harmful effects of secondhand smoke exposure, and they understand the benefits of smoke-free policies. This reflects how effective anti-smoking campaigns were. Being a tobacco-growing state, it is more challenging for health workers to promote smoking cessation or prevention of tobacco use.
Ranney adds that the results are similar to previous American and worldwide surveys. She believes that leaders need to listen to this message and adopt policies to protect the youth from secondhand smoke.
Danny McGoldrick, vice president of research at the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, reports that smoking rates among teenagers have fallen by 50% since the 1990s. Federal reports show that the percentage of high school students who smoked cigarettes within the last month declined from 36% in 1997 to 20% in 2009 as a result of increasing taxes and the passing of smoke-free laws.
Dotinga, R. Most Teens Support Tough Smoking Bans: Survey. HealthDay.