Preventing Youth From Starting Tobacco Use
Statewide, in 2011, 23.7 percent of all high school students smoke cigarettes and 33 percent of high school students and 14 percent of middle school students currently use some form of tobacco. A total of 5,900 kids under age 18 become new daily smokers each year. These rates have dramatically decreased from a high of 36.6 percent of high school students smoking in 1999, but statistics show children in our state are starting to try smoking at younger ages. In 2007, 8.7 percent of S.C. middle school students smoked, which was above the national average. It is anticipated that 103,000 kids now under 18 and alive in South Carolina will ultimately die prematurely from smoking.
The Division is committed to preventing the initiation of tobacco use among youth and works to promote proven and effective curriculums, methods and strategies. The following initiatives are just a few examples of ways we are working to prevent tobacco use among our youth.
Methods for strengthening school programs include implementing and incorporating evidenced-based curricula into a comprehensive school program to prevent tobacco use and addiction. It is important to note that there are many curriculums available for implementation in a school/classroom/group setting, and all are unique in that they are research- based. The decision to use a particular curriculum should be based on your individual school community and population needs.
Rage Against the Haze, officially kicked off statewide in 2003, is South Carolina’s grassroots teen tobacco-free movement, designed for and by today’s youth.
Using word –of-mouth marketing as its primary strategy, Rage Against the Haze empowers young people to talk to their peers about the dangers of tobacco use and the marketing practices often used to encourage tobacco use. Rage is open to all S.C. teens ages 13 to 17. To join the movement or learn more, visit www.rageagainstthehaze.com.