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PO Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360
|Fred M. Jacobs, M.D., J.D.|
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“Our department and many other groups statewide have worked hard to help young people remain smoke-free and encourage them to quit if they’ve already started,” Commissioner Jacobs said. “And three cigarette excise tax increases in as many years have also served to discourage young people from smoking.
“All of these efforts are paying off, as the rapid decline in smoking rates shows. New Jersey has already met its 2010 health objectives for youth smoking. But we can’t rest until we eliminate smoking as a health threat for young people as well as for the entire population,” Dr. Jacobs added.
The 2004 survey asked students about both current and lifetime tobacco use, frequency of use, number of cigarettes consumed, method of acquiring cigarettes, and secondhand smoke exposure. Use of cigarettes, cigars, smokeless tobacco, and bidis – small, hand-rolled cigarettes imported from other counties – were covered by the survey.
A current tobacco user is anyone who has used the product at least once in the previous 30 days. According to the 2004 survey, 17.3 percent of high school students were current cigarette smokers compared with 27.6 percent in 1999, which is a 37 percent decline. Among middle school students, 4.1 percent were current smokers compared with 10.5 in 1999, for a decline of 61 percent.
The 2004 results also represented a decline from 2001, when 24.5 percent of high school and 6.1 percent of middle school students were current smokers.
In both age groups, males and females experienced similar decreases in overall tobacco use since 1999. Among high school students, the declines were greater for black students than for white and Hispanic students. Among middle school students, the decline was also greatest among blacks, though significant decreases were seen in all racial and ethnic groups.
“Also encouraging is the finding that fewer middle and high school students are experimenting with tobacco products,” said Dr. Eddy Bresnitz, deputy commissioner and state epidemiologist. “Preventing and delaying tobacco use is a critical first step to reducing the prevalence of tobacco use among young people.”
According to the survey, the percent of students who used any tobacco product in their lifetime has declined since 1999, and the percent who have ever smoked a cigarette has declined significantly.
Some of the survey’s other key findings include:
Since 2000, the department’s Comprehensive Tobacco Control Program (CTCP) has implemented a variety of statewide and local tobacco control initiatives to reduce youth smoking.
The department has also funded two initiatives to help adolescent smokers quit tobacco. Since 2001, the CTCP has worked with the American Lung Association to provide the N-O-T (Not On Tobacco) youth cessation program in several schools throughout the state. The CTCP has also supported training for high school staff to create and conduct a curriculum based tobacco cessation program called Youth Quit2Win, which is implemented by the UMDNJ – Tobacco Dependence Program.
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Department of Health
P. O. Box 360, Trenton, NJ 08625-0360