By Brian Johnsrud
It's been around for over 300 years in one way or another. Used in such things as ceremonies, rituals, and common-day use, smoking has affected the world throughout time. Now, it's influence is especially affecting teens. This shouldn't come as much of a shock to you. But, contrary to the past 200 years, or even to the past ten years, a new approach is being taken, and may be the answer for prevention in youths. Showing up in the '60s and '70s, the approach to simply scare teens into not smoking was dominant. Films were shown in many schools, telling about how cigarettes can kill anyone associated with them.
Then, when a peak of smoking in teens erupted in 1991, ads such as "I don't need to smoke to be cool." were on billboards and commercials across America, somewhat decreasing the amount of teens influenced with tobacco.
Although, recently, a new wave of propaganda has been successful in teaching kids the dangers about "lighting up." Instead of simply giving the audience the facts, they have confident teens telling parents how to approach their kids about these topics, and explaining to children how it's easy to confront your parents about them. What is the difference between these?
A television commercial that was part of a Florida campaign shot teen smoking rates down close to 20 percent from 1998 to 1999, the greatest plummet ever recorded for one state. With hopes of rekindling that spark created, the American Legacy Foundation is sponsoring a nation-wide campaign to hopefully draw similar results. The problem is finding a successful slogan, and achieving similar results. Last November, Massachusetts shared a 15 percent fall in teen smoking in two years, while right next door, Rhode Island announced a 60 percent increase in smoking since 1993.
Although, students may be taking the slogans a little to literally about not smoking "cigarettes." Out of the 28 percent of high-schoolers that smoke, 10 percent don't smoke regular cigarettes.
One of the more popular smoking products isn't Marlboro or Camel, but new products called bidis and kreteks. Bidis are very skinny, flavored and unfiltered cigarettes with flavors such as vanilla, chocolate, etc. Kreteks are a kind of clove cigarette. The focus on these sometimes colored tobacco products is not only to look appealing, but to seem to be like candy. In reality, because they are filterless, they are often more dangerous to your heath than filtered cigarettes.
Overall, through various techniques, smoking rates in teens is on the decline. With 80 percent of smokers first lighting up when in high school, targeting on high school and middle school students is likely to continue. Other factors are aiding in the decline. The recent $.45 increase in cigarette prices to compensate for the $206 billion settlement with 46 states over suits from the attorneys general has dented the smoking population also.