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Home News Local Teens Encouraged to ‘Kick Butts’
David Morgan
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Local Teens Encouraged to ‘Kick Butts’

March 18, 2015 - Nicotine Cessation - Awareness

Join us and thousands of youth across the United States and on military bases around the world as we stand out, speak up and seize control against big tobacco.New Mexico teens will be among the young people around the country today looking to kick butts – cigarette butts, that is.

Today, March 18th, is national Kick Butts Day – a national day of activism empowering youth to stand up and speak out about the dangers of not just cigarettes but all tobacco products. The day was created in 1996 by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and has been the focus of schools, youth groups and health advocates ever since.

The good news is fewer New Mexico teens are smoking. According to the New Mexico Department of Health’s Tobacco Use Prevention and Control (TUPAC) Program, the number of high school students smoking cigarettes is declining.

In 2011, the smoking rate was 19.9 percent. In 2013, the latest data available, it fell to 14.4 percent - representing about 6,400 fewer high school smokers in just two years. The decline is also similar for middle school aged children in New Mexico as cigarette smoking declined from 6.8 percent in 2011 to 4.6 percent in 2013.

Not only are there fewer young smokers in New Mexico, fewer kids are even trying tobacco. Among high school aged students, only 48 percent have ever tried smoking, which is down significantly from the 62% rate of experimentation back in 2005.

“The tobacco landscape is changing,” said TUPAC Program manager Benjamín Jácquez. “Use of traditional cigarettes and cigars continues declining, but hookah use is still high in New Mexico, and national data indicate that e-cigarettes are a new and growing problem,”

Hookah, tobacco inhaled through a long tube in which the smoke is drawn through a jar of water and cooled, is the most widely used tobacco by New Mexico teens. Twenty-two percent have used it.

It’s the use of electronic, or e-cigarettes, and flavored tobacco products that’s still an unknown in New Mexico – and something the Department of Health’s TUPAC program is looking into this year to determine how widely it’s used in the state among both teens and adults. According the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of teens nationwide who had tried an e-cigarette but had never smoked a tobacco cigarette tripled, from 79,000 youth in 2011 to 263,000 in youth in 2013.

“The knowledge we gain this year about the use of e-cigarettes is going to be a huge help,” says Jácquez. “We’ll then strategize to do what we’ve successfully done in New Mexico with cigarettes and show young people and their parents the risks they could be taking with their health using this new form of tobacco product.”

The effort to keep up with new technology and trends is nothing new for the Department of Health. The Department is always working to do what it can to provide for a healthier New Mexico from obesity to heart health; diabetes to tobacco use.

Today’s national Kick Butts Day is particularly impressive because it’s a day not where it’s any health department with a message, but it’s our kids themselves spreading the message that their long term health, and that of their friends, matters. Not just today, but for years to come.

For more information on Kick Butts Day visit the Kick Butts Day website. For more information on the New Mexico Department of Health’s Tobacco Use Prevention and Control (TUPAC) program’s FREE cessation services, please visit the Nicotine Use Prevention and Control Program section of our website or call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) and 1-855-DEJELO-YA (1-855-335-3569).

Media Contact

We would be happy to provide additional information about this press release. Simply contact David Morgan at 575-528-5197 (Office) or 575-649-0754 (Mobile) with your questions.

Versión en Español

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