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Tobacco in Juvenile Justice Facilities: A Policy Overview

NCJ Number
Date Published
February 2012
4 pages
This document examines how to prevent tobacco addiction among high-risk adolescents.
Juvenile offenders, youth detained or incarcerated in the juvenile justice system, suffer a disproportionately high number of mental health and substance abuse disorders, including tobacco dependency. Given the appeal and prevalence of tobacco use among these high-risk adolescents, the juvenile justice system appears to be one venue where youth could receive the tobacco prevention and cessation aid and support they need. Topics discussed include: the prevalent use of tobacco among youth; why high-risk adolescents are so vulnerable to nicotine addiction; the difficulty in providing tobacco cessation services to justice-involved juveniles; the types of tobacco cessation program that can be used in juvenile justice settings. Such as non-residential or community based placement, non-secure or staff-secured residential placements, and secure placements; and possible methods for reducing the use of tobacco by high-risk youth. Many youth underestimate the addictiveness of nicotine and discount the health effects of tobacco use. Yet almost a third of all young people who become new smokers each year will ultimately die of tobacco-related disease.