Anti-Tobacco Youth Campaign
by Larry D. Jones, MPH, Health Director
October 8, 2013
In Missouri, the Department of Health and Senior Services reports that more than 18 percent of the state’s high school students smoke, putting them in danger of becoming more frequent smokers as adults.
These statistics were the impetus behind a new anti-tobacco campaign in this year’s Building a Healthier Independence (BHI) Initiative, now in its third year.
We all know the health risks of smoking. Tobacco use remains the leading preventable cause of disease, disability and death in the United States. And kicking the habit is the largest health improvement a smoker can make. But quitting is difficult, even for an adult. It is even more difficult for youths who may believe smoking allows them to “fit in” with others they admire.
In a Missouri Youth Tobacco Survey conducted in 2011 by the State of Missouri, 43 percent of high school students and 18.3 percent of middle school students reported they had smoked cigarettes. In addition, 49.1 percent of high school students and 22.1 percent of middle school students admitted to using any form of tobacco.
The tobacco industry concentrates much of its marketing efforts on the youth, which confounds the problem. And, some movie stars have started to participate in advertising for the now popular e-cigarettes. Our advertising campaign works to counteract that, encouraging parents and others in the community to make a strong stand against youth smoking.
The BHI youth anti-tobacco campaign includes:
The campaign includes messages such as:
Smoking is a psychological habit as well as a physical addiction that most smokers need support and assistance in efforts to quit. Our youth need even more support and assistance.
If you know someone who smokes encourage them to call 1-800-QUIT-NOW for help quitting.
For more information contact the Independence Health Department at 816-325-7185 or http://www.ci.independence.mo.us/health.