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Stricter Rules and Highly Priced Cigarettes Can Help Curb Smoking in Teens

Update Date: Dec 16, 2012 12:57 PM EST

In the wake of recent reports about alarming rates of teenagers and school children picking up smoking, a new study suggests that the problem can perhaps be dealt with if strong school smoking-prevention programs and high cigarette prices are introduced.

Smoking among high school students is getting more and more common and repeated health warnings issued by the government do not seem to make any difference. Although recent research reports have suggested that banning smoking in public places and restaurants in some countries do reflect some improvements in the number of lung cancer patients, there is still need for a stricter or a more effective way to deal with the problem.  

The study included more than 24,000 students in grades 10 and 11 across 51 high schools in Canada, according to a report in Medical Xpress.

The researchers, for the study, looked at the schools' smoking policies and prevention and quitting programs, along with the price of cigarettes. The researchers observed that in schools where smoking policies and tobacco prevention programs were stronger, the number of students who smoked were lower. Also, higher prices of cigarettes in stores near the school seemed to make a difference in curbing down the number of children who smoked.

Other findings of the study revealed that schools which had a higher proportion of immigrants and higher education levels also had a lesser number of students smoking.

"Together these findings suggest that effective school-based approaches to reducing smoking among teens need to consider the broader school and community environment," wrote Chris Lovato, of the School of Population and Public Health at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver and colleagues.

"Lessons learned from this research will be relevant for countries developing tobacco-control programs as well as those countries now turning their focus to other youth health issues such as physical activity, nutrition and mental health," they concluded in a journal news release.

The study appears online Dec. 13 and in the February print issue of the American Journal of Public Health.

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