WASHINGTON — The U.S. surgeon general this week released a report on tobacco use among the nation's youth.
"Preventing Tobacco Use Among Youth and Young Adults" details the scope, health consequences and influences that lead to youth tobacco use and proven strategies that prevent its use, surgeon general Regina Benjamin said. The new report marks the first made by the surgeon general since 2009, when President Barack Obama signed the bipartisan Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (Tobacco Control Act) into law.
To support the report, the surgeon general also released a guide that discusses was to address tobacco use among young people called "Preventing Tobacco Use Among Youth and Young Adults: We Can Make the Next Generation Tobacco-Free." What's more, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Office on Smoking and Health will launch the Surgeon General’s Video Challenge to engage youth and young adults in developing original videos that feature one or more of the report's findings.
"The addictive power of nicotine makes tobacco use much more than a passing phase for most teens. We now know smoking causes immediate physical damage, some of which is permanent," Benjamin said. "Today, more than 600,000 middle school students and 3 million high school students smoke. We don’t want our children to start something now that they won’t be able to change later in life."
The Food and Drug Administration praised the report's release, saying it "not only documents the devastating consequences of tobacco use for our nation’s youth, but also represents a clarion call for bold action at every level of government to implement proven strategies to keep kids off tobacco."
"[The] FDA welcomes the authoritative and comprehensive scientific findings in the surgeon general's report and will use these facts as we propose tobacco product regulations to protect our nation’s health and to conduct science-based education campaigns to inform the public — particularly young people — about the harmful ingredients in tobacco products with the goal to prevent initiation," FDA commissioner Margaret Hamburg siad. "By applying the science contained in this and other surgeon general's reports we can help make tobacco-related death and disease a part of America’s past, not its future."