Report: Youth Smoking Rates Down, Smokeless Tobacco Use Rising
The smoking rate among California high school students has declined, but the use of smokeless tobacco products in the group has increased, according to a new report from the state Department of Public Health, the Sacramento Bee reports (Siders, Sacramento Bee, 12/14).
The report found that the smoking rate for state high school students decreased from 21.6% in 2000 to 13.8% in 2010 (State Health Officer's report, December 2012).
According to the report, smoking rates were higher at schools in neighborhoods with five or more stores that sell tobacco productsÂ than at schools in neighborhoods without any stores that sell tobacco products.
The report also found that 8.7% of retailers sold tobacco productsÂ to minors in 2012, compared with 5.6% in 2011.
Smokeless Tobacco Product Findings
According to the report, sales of non-cigarette tobacco and nicotine products increased from $77.1 million in 2001 to $210.9 million in 2011 (Siders, Sacramento Bee, 12/14).
According to the Los Angeles Times, the main types of smokeless tobacco sold in California are snuff and chewing tobacco (Gorman, Los Angeles Times, 12/13).
Other Key Findings
The report found that young adults ages 18 to 24 had the highest smoking prevalence of any age group in the state, increasing from 12.3% in 2010 to 14.6% in 2011Â (Kleffman, Bay Area News Group/Contra Costa Times, 12/13).
According to the report, smoking rates among California adults decreased from 16.4% in 2001 to 12% in 2011 (Los Angeles Times, 12/13).
In addition, the report found that tobacco-related health care costs for the state will reach $6.5 billion, or about $400 per taxpayer, this yearÂ (Sacramento Bee, 12/14).
Colleen Stevens -- branch chief of the tobacco control program for DPH -- said that some smokeless tobacco products are "really flying under the radar." She said that some products are so small that they can be used in classrooms (Los Angeles Times, 12/13).Ron Chapman -- DPH director -- said, "The economic impact of smoking is a burden for us all, even if you don't smoke" (Bay Area News Group/Contra Costa Times, 12/13). He added, "These costs are completely unnecessary and preventable if California was tobacco-free" (Los Angeles Times, 12/13). 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.