The Renegade Rip

Fewer teens lighting up

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Teen smoking is on the decline due to the increase of cigarette prices, said Roberta Lawson program consultant for the California Department of Health Services.

The cost of cigarettes is between $3.80 and $4 per pack. “I think if cigarettes keep going up in price smoking will decline even more,” she said.

In the last eight years, teen smoking has dropped 46 percent, according to Lawson. According to a recent study by the California Department of Health Services, in 2001 only 5.9 percent of teens 12 to 17 reported smoking a cigarette in the last 30 days. In 1994, this number was 11 percent.

Even though television and movies have been criticized for presenting characters who smoke, Lawson said she did not believe TV influences teens to try cigarettes.

“I don’t believe TV plays much of a role in it,” she said.

Instead, she blames tobacco companies for still targeting the teen market. For example, even though companies aren’t allowed to advertise directly to teens, they will place ads next to teen magazine sections in stores, she said.

Still, teens still smoke cigarettes.

Kyle Wilson, for example, said he started to smoke because his friends did.

The 19-year-old Bakersfield College student started smoking when he was 16.

He plans on quitting.

“I want to quit but it’s hard to stop when you have been doing this long as long as I have,” Wilson said.

He goes through two packs a day.

“I spend about $55 a week on cigarettes,” he said. Wilson said he doesn’t like the increases in cigarettes prices but, he admits there is not much he can do about it.

He said that when he was 17 his parents caught him smoking and they were furious.

Non-smokers themselves, they grounded him for two months.

“It was a bummer,” he said.

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The news site of Bakersfield College
Fewer teens lighting up