Surgeon General releases new report on preventing youth tobacco use

Two chapters in particular pay broad tribute to the importance of psychological science in understanding youth tobacco use and the efficacy of prevention efforts

The Surgeon General’s Report, Preventing Tobacco Use Among Youth and Young Adults (PDF, 37KB), was released on March 8 (along with a consumer-oriented companion booklet PDF, 978KB) and was the 31st SG report on tobacco use but the first on prevention in youth since 1994. Of the seven chapters within the report, two in particular pay broad tribute to the importance of psychological science in understanding youth tobacco use and the efficacy of prevention efforts. Chapter four addresses the Social, Environmental, Cognitive, and Genetic Influences on the Use of Tobacco Among Youth (PDF, 270KB) and chapter six examines Efforts to Prevent and Reduce Tobacco Use Among Young People (PDF, 270KB). One conclusion of the latter chapter is that “the evidence is sufficient to conclude that mass media campaigns, comprehensive community programs and comprehensive statewide tobacco control programs can prevent the initiation of tobacco use and reduce its prevalence among youth.”

As a follow-on the Department of Health and Human Services launched a mass media campaign “Tips from Former Smokers” on March 15, featuring real depictions of the health risks of smoking. The goals of the campaign are to increase awareness of the health risks of smoking and second hand smoke exposure, motivate smokers to quit, encourage smokers who need help to call (800) QUIT-NOW and encourage adults not to expose their kids to secondhand smoke. The ads started running on March 19. APA and many other scientific organizations joined an effort led by the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids to thank Secretary Sebelius (PDF, 615KB) for her leadership in promoting the ads.