Anti-smoking policies for adults also reduce kids' smoking

When governments use comprehensive, well-funded tobacco control programs to reduce adult smoking, they also reduce smoking among adolescents. This bonus effect is an important factor to consider as policymakers face pressure to reduce spending on anti-smoking programs.

The most effective elements of a tobacco control program include taxes on tobacco, well-funded adult-focused tobacco control programs, well-funded anti-smoking mass media campaigns, and strong indoor smoking restrictions.

Comprehensive programs like this generally take a long time to implement and are not cheap to run.

But a study published today in the journal Addiction shows that in Australia these adult-focused programs have produced an additional benefit: they have also reduced smoking among adolescents. And the better funded those programs are, the more effective they are at cutting smoking among both adults and adolescents.

There are three reasons why policies designed to reduce adult smoking can also reduce kids' smoking. First, as adult smoking decreases, young people have a lower tendency to see smoking as an adult activity. Second, many adult smokers are parents: when parents quit, it reduces the likelihood that their kids will start smoking. And third, many anti-smoking programs and policies directly influence adolescents themselves. For example, there is strong evidence that media ads that emphasise the serious health consequences of smoking in an emotional way resonate strongly with young people.

To be effective, though, a comprehensive program must be sustained and contain strong, consistently enforced, and well-funded anti-smoking policies. Says Professor Melanie Wakefield, co-author of the study and Director of the Centre for Behavioural Research in Cancer at the Cancer Council Victoria, "The only way to get this double benefit is to create a rigorous anti-smoking program in the first place. If governments are determined to reduce in this generation and the one to follow, they must choose effective policies and finance them properly. There's no other way around it."

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Researches link tobacco industry's marketing to youth smoking

Aug 21, 2008

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) released a report, co-edited by University of Minnesota professor Barbara Loken, that reaches the government's strongest conclusion to date that tobacco marketing and depictions of smoking ...

Smoking habit returning in U.S.

Jul 11, 2006

Tobacco use appears to be on the increase in the United States, with teenagers leading the way, reports USA Today.

Recommended for you

AMA examines economic impact of physicians

13 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Physicians who mainly engage in patient care contribute a total of $1.6 trillion in economic output, according to the American Medical Association (AMA)'s Economic Impact Study.

Less-schooled whites lose longevity, study finds

13 hours ago

Barbara Gentry slowly shifts her heavy frame out of a chair and uses a walker to move the dozen feet to a chair not far from the pool table at the Buford Senior Center. Her hair is white and a cough sometimes interrupts her ...

How to keep your fitness goals on track

13 hours ago

(HealthDay)—The New Year's resolutions many made to get fit have stalled by now. And one expert thinks that's because many people set their goals too high.

Suddenly health insurance is not for sale

Apr 18, 2014

(HealthDay)— Darlene Tucker, an independent insurance broker in Scotts Hill, Tenn., says health insurers in her area aren't selling policies year-round anymore.

User comments