SIDEBAR: Major Conclusions of the Surgeon General’s Report on Youth Tobacco Use


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  1. Cigarette smoking by youth and young adults has immediate adverse health consequences, including addiction, and accelerates the development of chronic diseases across the full life course.
  2. Prevention efforts must focus on both adolescents and young adults because among adults who become daily smokers, nearly all first use of cigarettes occurs by 18 years of age (88%), with 99% of first use by 26 years of age.
  3. Advertising and promotional activities by tobacco companies have been shown to cause the onset and continuation of smoking among adolescents and young adults.
  4. After years of steady progress, declines in the use of tobacco by youth and young adults have slowed for cigarette smoking and stalled for smokeless tobacco use.
  5. Coordinated, multicomponent interventions that combine mass media campaigns, price increases including those that result from tax increases, school-based policies and programs, and statewide or community-wide changes in smoke-free policies and norms are effective in reducing the initiation, prevalence, and intensity of smoking among youth and young adults.

From Preventing Tobacco Use Among Youth and Young Adults: A Report of the Surgeon General, Executive Summary. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Office of the Surgeon General, Rockville, Maryland, 2012.


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