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February 23, 1994

Health Experts to Youth: Don't Give Tobacco a Start

JAMA. 1994;271(8):580. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03510320020008

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THE YOUTH FACTOR is receiving increasing attention in antitobacco efforts.

There are many programs, such as the American Cancer Society's "Great American Smokeout" each November, that seek to convince tobacco users to quit. While these efforts of course will continue, antitobacco forces also hope to dissuade any would-be tobacco users, especially young people, from even starting the practice (JAMA. 1993;269:1333-1354, 1356).

In fact, there may be as many as 2.2 million US teenaged smokers. The American Heart Association is using that figure for the population group aged 12 through 17 years and citing estimates suggesting that as many as 3000 youngsters each day start smoking in this country (JAMA. 1993;270:806).

M. Joycelyn Elders, MD, surgeon general of the US Public Health Service, has indicated that her annual report— the 30th in the series of surgeon general reports on tobacco's dangers to health— this month will focus on youth and tobacco.

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