Calif. Tobacco Prevention Program Credited with Cutting Smoking

Research Summary

Smoking among young adults has plummeted since California implemented a groundbreaking tobacco-control plan 12 years ago, according to new research from the University of California at San Diego.

The California Tobacco Control Program, established in 1989, has been credited with reducing smoking among all adult smokers, but the decline among young adults has been especially striking, researchers said. Notably, cessation rates among young Californians were higher than among young adults in New York and New Jersey, which have similarly high tobacco prices but lack comprehensive stop-smoking campaigns, as well as compared to young adults in tobacco-growing states (TGS).

“We were surprised to find that, since the advent of the California campaign, young people have increased their rate of quitting by 50 percent, far more than their older counterparts,” said study author Karen Messer, Ph.D. “It used to be that smokers over age 50 were the ones quitting because they understood the health consequences of smoking …
“These young adults have grown up in a tobacco-controlled climate, where smoking isn’t the norm and isn’t socially supported. We may be seeing the first generation who believe it’s not cool to smoke, which could pay huge dividends in their future health.”

Another UCLA study focused on tobacco consumption trends. “We found that there is a national trend of declining cigarette consumption for all age groups, but the most significant by far was observed in California smokers over age 35,” noted researcher Wael K. Al-Delaimy, M.D., Ph.D.
“The data suggest that — compared with states with no tobacco control initiatives (TGS) or states with an increased cigarette price as the principal tobacco control measure (NY/NJ) – California’s comprehensive tobacco control program is more effective in decreasing cigarette consumption for those over age 35.”

Source: journal Tobacco Control April 2007

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