Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Surgeon General calls for multi-component prevention efforts

Last week, the Surgeon General was in town and participated in a Town Hall Meeting on youth tobacco use.  She shared a fact sheet about Preventing Tobacco Use Among Youth and Youth Adults.

A Prevention WINS coalition member also participated in the Town Hall Meeting and when I asked her what I should share with blog readers she said, "The calls to action that I heard were to regulate flavored tobacco products (grape blunts, chocolate mini-cigars), increase taxes to deter youth use, and for the FDA to continue to assert their authority."  

"I think that coalition members should know that Seattle students have higher rates of alternative forms of tobacco than cigarettes.  That means more kids are using hookah or swisher sweets than smoking cigarettes.  We have done a great job educating folks about the dangers of cigarettes…so now kids just use the other products."

The Surgeon General's fact sheet ends with recommendations that can inform all substance abuse prevention activities.  She calls for "comprehensive, sustained, multi-component programs".

  • Prevention is critical.  Successful multi-component programs prevent young people from starting to use tobacco (and other drugs) in the first place and more than pay for themselves in lives and health care dollars saved.
  • Strategies that comprise successful comprehensive tobacco control programs include mass media campaigns, higher tobacco prices, smoke-free laws and policies, evidence-based school programs, and sustained community-wide efforts.  (These strategies are effective for preventing other youth drug use, as well.)
  • Comprehensive tobacco control programs are most cost-effective when funding for them is sustained at levels recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  

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