Wisconsin youth smoking drops
Public health advocates in Oneida County have a reason to celebrate. This month, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services recently released a report showing that fewer Wisconsin kids are smoking than ever before.
The 2012 Wisconsin Youth Tobacco Survey (YTS) reports that smoking among Wisconsin youth has hit an all-time low. The study, a partnership between the Wisconsin Department of Health Services and the Department of Public Instruction, showed a 26 percent decrease in high school rates and a 36 percent decrease in middle school rates since 2010.
High school smoking decreased from 17.7 percent in 2010 to 13.1 percent in 2012 and middle school smoking fell from 3.9 percent to 2.5 percent in the same time frame. The study took place in the spring of 2012, and included 40 high schools and 42 middle schools.
Representatives from the Northwoods Tobacco-Free Coalition said the decrease means that more Wisconsin youth will live longer, healthier lives and that the state will see substantial health care savings down the line. Furthermore, fewer kids smoking means fewer kids at an increased risk of developing smoking-related diseases like cancer, heart disease and pulmonary diseases.
According to projections from the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids (CTFK), these numbers mean that nearly 200,000 fewer kids alive today will grow up to become addicted adult smokers. Additionally, CTFK estimates the state will save nearly $3.4 billion in health care costs, with nearly $500 million in Medicaid savings alone.
“While this report is incredibly exciting, the fight to protect our kids from tobacco’s deadly grip is not over,” said Niki Kostrova, Oneida County tobacco control coordinator. “The industry continues to evolve, looking for new ways to hook kids so it’s more important than ever that our state continue to invest in tobacco prevention and control efforts to make sure these hard won gains are not lost and this trend of success continues.”
To view the YTS facts sheets and to learn more about Wisconsin’s tobacco prevention and control efforts, visit www.dhs.wi.gov/tobacco.