American Heart Association Applauds Drop in Teen Tobacco Use
Washington, D.C., June 12, 2014 — American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown issued the following comments today on the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) which revealed that among American high school students, the rate of cigarette smoking is at 15.7 percent, the lowest level since the survey began in 1991:
“The drop in cigarette smoking by young Americans, as reported by the CDC today, is outstanding news. It’s an indication that national, state and local efforts to prevent teen tobacco use are paying off. A combination of higher tobacco taxes, strong smoke-free laws, aggressive mass media campaigns, and other polices are having a solid impact.
But millions of teens still use tobacco, and thousands more become addicted every day. As the YRBS shows, declines in the use of smokeless tobacco by teenagers has stalled, and cigar smoking among male high school seniors is far too high at 23 percent. If we do not act, 5.6 million children alive today will die prematurely from tobacco use.
We must double our efforts to stop the nation’s young people from surrendering to this terrible addiction. For years we have known that certain policies can reduce tobacco use, especially among youth. Yet, tobacco taxes in many states are still too low, too many Americans are still not protected by strong smoke-free laws, and funding for state tobacco prevention programs is still woefully inadequate.
We urge the Food and Drug Administration to move quickly in finalizing its proposed deeming rules over tobacco products, and to further strengthen those rules to include bans on the marketing of all tobacco products to children.
When the Surgeon General’s 50th anniversary report on tobacco was released earlier this year, we called on the nation to end the tobacco epidemic once and for all. We renew that call today.”