The three primary goals of National Prevention Week are to:
- Involve communities in raising awareness about behavioral health issues and implementing prevention strategies;
- Foster partnerships and collaboration with federal agencies and national organizations dedicated to behavioral and public health; and
- Promote and disseminate quality behavioral health resources and publications.
Monday, May 15 – Youth Tobacco Use Prevention
Tobacco use is still the primary cause of preventable death and disease, claiming the lives of over 6,300 Minnesota adults annually and incurring $3.2 billion annually in medical costs.
Furthermore, nearly one in five non-smoking students is repeatedly exposed to secondhand smoke, which causes early death and disease in both children and adults who do not smoke, and nearly 102,100 Minnesota youth are projected to die from smoking.
While the use of cigarettes, cigars, and smokeless tobacco has all declined, e-cigarettes are increasingly popular. Among youth, e-cigarette use is now more than double that of cigarettes.
MN Department of Health reports Minnesota’s 11th grade student’s use of e-cigarette has more than double in comparison to conventional cigarette use. In Kanabec County, 10% of 11th grade students report using an e-cigarette in the last 30 days. (2016 MSS Student Survey)
Youth use of tobacco products in any form is unsafe, irrespective of whether it is smoked, smokeless, or electronic. If cigarette smoking continues at the current rate among youth in this country, 5.6 million of today’s Americans younger than 18 will die early from a smoking-related illness. That’s about 1 of every 13 Americans aged 17 years or younger alive today. (CDC)
Youth are vulnerable to social and environmental influences to use tobacco; messages and images that make tobacco use appealing to them are everywhere.
- Young people want to fit in with their peers. Images in tobacco marketing make tobacco use look appealing to this age group.
- Youth and young adults see smoking in their social circles, movies they watch, video games they play, websites they visit, and many communities where they live. Smoking is often portrayed as a social norm, and young people exposed to these images are more likely to smoke.
Successful multi-component programs prevent young people from starting to use tobacco 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.
We all play a role in prevention. Talk to your kids. Be a positive role model.