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Youth & Tobacco: Preventing Tobacco Use Among Young People

NCJ Number
Date Published
223 pages
This document presents information on tobacco use by young people, the seriousness of tobacco use and the relationship of tobacco use to other adolescent problem behaviors.
In addition to discussing health consequences of tobacco use by young people, the report addresses the epidemiology of tobacco use among young people in the United States, psychosocial risk factors for initiating tobacco use, and efforts to prevent tobacco use among young people. Major conclusions of the report are: (1) Nearly all first use of tobacco occurs before high school graduation; (2) Most adolescent smokers are addicted to nicotine; (3) Tobacco is often the first drug used by those young people who use alcohol, marijuana and other drugs; (4) Adolescents with lower levels of school achievement, fewer skills to resist pervasive influences to use tobacco, friends who use tobacco, and lower self-images are more likely to use tobacco; (5) Cigarette advertising appears to increase young people's risk of smoking by affecting their perceptions of the pervasiveness, image, and function of smoking; and (6) Community-wide efforts that include tobacco tax increases, enforcement of minors' access laws, youth-oriented mass media campaigns, and school-based tobacco-use prevention programs are successful in reducing adolescent use of tobacco. References, notes, tables, figures