CDC Report Says State Funding Cuts for Antitobacco Campaigns Increase Rates of Teen Smoking
Cuts in funding for state antitobacco programs lead directly to a sharp rise in the number of teenagers who consider smoking cigarettes, according to a CDC study that surveyed Minnesota teens six months after the state halted an aggressive antitobacco campaign targeting youth, Reuters/Boston Globe reports. Nearly 53% of the 1,105 adolescents ages 12 to 17 who were surveyed did not strongly disagree when asked if they would smoke a cigarette in the next year, 10% more than the number of teens who made the same statement in a similar survey the previous summer, when the antismoking campaign was in effect. Minnesota cut its funding for antitobacco efforts by more than 80% between 2000 and the summer of 2003 (Simao, Reuters/Boston Globe, 4/16). The study, published in this week's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, is the first major report to examine the connection between antitobacco funding cuts and adolescents' susceptibility to smoking (American Heart Association release, 4/15). Federal health officials say that states' failure to continue funding the programs could lead to a resurgence of teen smoking in the United States, which has been in decline for the past five years. The federal government hopes by 2010 to have decreased by half the number of U.S. smokers, who currently cost the nation an estimated $157 billion per year in medical care, lost wages and other expenses, Reuters/Globe reports. Dr. David Nelson, a CDC senior scientific adviser and co-author of the study, said, "This is pretty bad news and potentially an early harbinger of what we're going to see in other states as well" (Reuters/Boston Globe, 4/16).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.