Survey: Teenage smoking on the rise

teenage smoking WASECA — Tobacco companies appear to be getting a hold on students in Waseca County, as the number of students smoking cigarettes are holding steady, and in some cases, tobacco consumption by high school seniors is growing.

Students in public schools across Waseca County reported a number of fluctuations in their tendencies toward tobacco use when they responded to the Minnesota Student Survey last year.

In 2007, 40 percent of 12th grade males and 23 percent of 12th grade females reported using a tobacco product in the 30 days before the survey. The same rates for 2010 showed an increased 49 percent of males and a decreased 18 percent of females had engaged in the same behavior. Frequent use of tobacco products held steady among young men, with 22 percent of 12th grade males reporting they used tobacco at least 20 days out of the last 30 in both 2007 and 2010. For young women in the 12th grade, those numbers for frequent tobacco use decreased slightly from 11 percent in 2007 to 9 percent in 2010.

Survey results also indicated a decline in the frequency with which high school seniors in Waseca County smoked or used smokeless tobacco products.

While the majority of students in Waseca County responded by saying they had not smoked at all in the last 30 days, 9 percent of male seniors and 6 percent of female seniors reported that they smoked on all 30 of those days in 2007. By the same token, 11 percent of male seniors and 6 percent of female seniors reported that they smoked on all 30 days of the last 30 in 2010.

According to the survey results, high school seniors in Waseca County are also smoking cigarettes frequently. Out of those who said they had smoked cigarettes, 7 percent of 12th grade males and 9 percent of 12th grade females said they had smoked one to five cigarettes per day in 2007. In 2010, that fluctuated to 14 percent of males and 6 percent of females.

More seniors also reported smoking one pack a day or more in 2010. Locally, 3 percent of male seniors reported they smoked about one pack a day in 2010 — up from 0 percent in 2007 — and 2 percent of female seniors reported smoking about one pack a day in 2010 — up from 1 percent in 2007. Zero percent of local seniors reported smoking one and a half packs per day, however.

The survey, which is taken every three years in Minnesota, revealed that about 5 percent of students in Waseca County encounter cigarettes before they reach the age of 10. Additionally, almost half of the local population of high school seniors have smoked at least once in their lifetime. Only 42 percent of males reported never having smoked part or all of a cigarette and 59 percent of females reported never having smoked part or all of a cigarette.

The 2010 survey results saw an increase in the use of chewing tobacco, snuff and dip, as well, though these products were significantly more popular among males.

When asked how many days during the last 30 they had used chewing tobacco, snuff or dip, 98 percent of female seniors and 84 percent of male seniors responded by saying zero, in 2007. In 2010, however, 97 percent of female seniors and 75 percent of male seniors responded to the same question by saying zero. Out of the male seniors responding, 6 percent said they had used these products on all 30 days of the last 30 in 2007, and 7 percent of males responded they had used these products on all 30 days of the last 30 in 2010.

The effort of tobacco companies to diversify the products offered to teens over the last decade showed some returns in 2007, as students indicated that they had smoked cigars, cigarillos or little cigars in the 30 days before the survey was taken.

In 2007, 78 percent of 12th grade males said they had not used these products in the last 30 days, while 98 percent of 12th grade females said they had not used them in the same time period. In 2010, those numbers fell, indicating a higher rate of use by students who responded to the survey. Last year, 70 percent of 12th grade males and 97 percent of 12th grade females indicated they had not used these products in the last 30 days. On top of the climb, the gap between male student use of cigars and smokeless tobacco and female student use of the same was significant. Four years ago, 20 percent more 12th grade males used these products than females, and last year, 27 percent more male seniors used these products.

Out of those 12th grade students who used tobacco in the 30 days before the 2010 survey, 75 percent of 12th grade students bought the tobacco at a gas station or convenience store. Other common ways of accessing tobacco including acquiring it through friends, as 42 percent of male seniors and 58 percent of female seniors “got it from friends” and 14 percent of male seniors and 25 percent of female seniors “got it by getting someone else to buy for me.”

This response was also notable among high school freshman, as 71 percent of 9th grade males and 79 percent of 9th grade females “got it from friends,” and 52 percent of 9th grade males and 36 percent of 9th grade females “got it by getting someone else to buy for me.”

The number of fake ID’s used in 2010 was down, according to the survey results, as 10 percent of male seniors and zero percent of female seniors said they bought tobacco with a fake ID in 2007, with those same responses coming in at 3 percent of male seniors and zero percent of female seniors in 2010.

source: www.wasecacountynews.com

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