According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA, 2006), the number of American adolescents who have used a tobacco product in the past month is about 4 million. Almost 90 percent of smokers start smoking by age 18 and more than 6 million of those individuals who started smoking before the age of 18 will die prematurely from a smoking-related disease. A teen’s decision to smoke has been found to be influenced by psychological factors, such as peer pressure, as well as biological factors. There is recent evidence from studies in animals that the interaction between nicotine and other chemicals found in cigarettes may increase an adolescent’s susceptibility to the addictive properties of nicotine.
Recent Use by Pinellas County Students
- The decreasing trend in smoking observed by NIDA is also reflected in recent tobacco product use trends among Pinellas County youth. With the exception of 5th-grade students (who have a very low prevalence of recent tobacco product use), students in all grades show significantly lower prevalence of recent tobacco product use in 2006 compared to 2004.
- Significant decreases in recent tobacco use are also observed among male students in grades 6, 8, and 10 and among female students in grades 6 and 8.
Lifetime Use by Pinellas County Students
- The prevalence of lifetime tobacco product use decreased between 2004 and 2006 among students in grades 6, 8, and 10.
- There was a 9.2 percent decrease in lifetime tobacco product use among 8th-grade students.
- Lifetime tobacco-product-use rates among male students in grades 5, 6, 8, and 10 exhibited significant declines in 2006, compared with prevalence levels in 2004. Only female students in the 8th grade showed significant declines in the prevalence of tobacco product use between 2004 and 2006.
- Operation PAR – Adolescent Residential Center
- R’Club - HIP
- Operation PAR – Alpha
- Operation PAR – Chemical Abuse Prevention
- Operation PAR – COSA
- Operation PAR – LiveFree!
- City of St. Petersburg – TASCO Center Based Programs