Anti-Smoking Needs Constant Campaigns

Smoking prevention efforts are necessary to keep kids from smoking

(RxWiki News) Smoking habits or the lack thereof can be linked to anti-smoking campaigns. Tough economic times can slash prevention budgets. The fallout—a spike in smoking related health issues.

A recent study looked at a nationwide survey of smoking habits and attitudes over 8 years. Results found that reduced smoking prevention efforts led to increased smoking.

"Talk to your kids about the dangers of smoking."

Xinguang Chen, MD, PhD, professor of pediatrics and Feng Lin, PhD, professor of electrical and computer engineering, at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, led investigations into adolescent smoking.

For the study, 142,913 people aged 12-17 participated in the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) between 2000-2008.

Exposure to smoking prevention efforts, smoking history and habits and attitudes were evaluated in the survey.

Over 80 percent of smokers claim to have begun smoking before turning 18 years old.

Results of the study indicate that the earlier people started smoking, the less likely they were to quit and the more cigarettes they were likely to consume on a daily basis.

Study authors said that now is no time to let up on smoking prevention efforts.

While these efforts do cost money, the cost of smoking in health care far exceeds that of prevention campaigns.

Dr. Chen said, “It’s an investment. Given the financial difficulties the nation is facing, policymakers should consider the potentially powerful impact offered by relatively low-cost nationwide substance use prevention campaigns.”

Dr.’s Chen and Feng have demonstrated a way to collect and analyze data necessary to understand the impact of prevention efforts or the lack thereof.

Results of the study indicated smoking prevention efforts helped keep kids from starting smoking, quit smoking or prevent relapse if they had quit.

From 2003-2005, smoking prevention program funding was reduced several states resulting in a smoking increase.

Those who rated zero smoking in his or her lifetime went from 44 percent in 2000, to 40 percent from 2003-2005, down to 35 percent from 2006-2008.

Ideally, the percentage would have increased from the 44 percent of kids not smoking instead of decreasing.

Those who rated zero smoking currently went from 21 percent in 2000 down to 17 percent in the 2006-2008 group, meaning that at least some smoking behavior increased by 4 percent.

Authors urge policy makers to invest funds into smoking prevention efforts now to save healthcare costs from smoking related illness in the future. 

This study was published in August in Evaluation and Program Planning. The National Institute on Drug Abuse provided funding for this study. No conflicts of interest were reported.

Review Date: 
September 24, 2012