The 2012 Florida Youth Tobacco Survey states that 23 percent fewer Florida high school students are cigarette smokers, compared to 2010.
Alachua County Tobacco Prevention Specialist Marilyn Headley helps to coordinate programs within the school system, both with the deans of schools and with local police departments. Their main goal is to correctly discipline those who are caught smoking, as well as encourage them to contact the Florida Quitline, a toll-free number that helps callers discover ways to quit smoking.
Cigar use among students also decreased, but they still rank higher than cigarettes.
“Although the prevalence of the current cigar use has increased from 2002 to 2010, among high school students since 2010, the prevalence of current cigar use has decreased by 21 percent,” Headley said. “Overall the usage has decreased.”
The CDC attributes the available flavors (perhaps even “cookie dough flavored cigars”) and lower costs of cigars as reasons why cigar use is higher than cigarette use.
According to the FYTS, about 11.4 percent of high schoolers smoke cigars compared to the 10.1 percent who smoke cigarettes.
When the CDC ran a “Tips From Former Smokers” campaign earlier this year, that sparked a record number of calls to the Florida Quitline.
Sami Main edited this story online.