American adolescents who live in states that comply with tobacco sales laws are less likely to pick up a smoking habit than are those who live where the laws are not vigorously enforced, a new study has found.
And raising the price of a pack of cigarettes might have an equal, if not greater, effect, the study also showed.
"Efforts to prevent the sale of tobacco to children pay off," said study author Dr. Joseph R. DiFranza, a professor of family medicine and community health at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. "It's very effective at reducing the number of kids who smoke."
The researchers found that, as merchants more diligently enforced the ban on tobacco sales to minors and as the price of cigarettes rose, the likelihood of teens smoking dropped.
Improved compliance with the laws from 1997 to 2003 was credited with about a 21 percent decline in the likelihood of a teen smoking. Price increases for a pack of cigarettes during that time reduced the odds by about 47 percent, the study found.
The results appear online April 17 in the journal BMC Public Health.
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About Jim Liebelt
Jim is Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for the HomeWord Center for Youth and Family at Azusa Pacific University. Jim has over 25 years of experience as a youth and family ministry specialist, and has been on the HomeWord staff since 1998. He has served over the years as a pastor, author, youth ministry trainer, adjunct college instructor and speaker. Jim’s culture blog and parenting articles appear on HomeWord.com. Jim is a contributing author of culture and parenting articles to Crosswalk.com. Jim and his wife Jenny live in Olympia, WA.
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