Abstract P258: Youth Smoking Habits and Increasing Cardiovascular Risk in Louisiana
Each day, over 3,800 youth smoke their first cigarette and over 1,000 become daily smokers. Approximately 90% of current adult smokers began smoking before 18. Youth are particularly susceptible to tobacco addiction. The developing adolescent brain is more susceptible and receptive to nicotine than the adult brain. There is a consistent, statistically significant and causal relationship between tobacco use among youth and early development of smoking related morbidity (e.g. hypertension, fatty streaks, and atherosclerotic lesions in the abdominal aorta). The effects of tobacco are cumulative; an earlier initiation age translates to a longer exposure and increased risk for chronic disease development.
Data from the Louisiana Youth Tobacco Survey (LYTS) survey 2011 and the Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance Survey (BRFSS) 2010 were used to explore smoking rates among the youth and the prevalence of cardiovascular disease risk factors among adults. The LYTS includes both middle-school students (n=1,409) and high-school students (n=1,003). The LYTS has 72 questions addressing students’ use of various tobacco products including cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, cigars, bidi’s black & mild’s and hookah. Cardiovascular risk factor and outcome data was based on self-report.
More than 25 % of youth in Louisiana smoked combustible tobacco products and 10.3 % smoke cigarettes daily. Highest utilization of any tobacco is seen among high school students (38.4%). For those above the age of 18 in Louisiana, the smoking prevalence among the 25-34 age group has increased since 2007. In 2010, 25-34 year olds were the age group with the highest prevalence of smoking (32.2%). There was an 80% change in the prevalence of heart disease among 18-24 year olds between 2009 and 2010. The rates for heart disease, myocardial infarction, and stroke, in Louisiana (5.3 %, 5.2 %, and 3.4%, respectively) continue to remain higher than the national rates (4.1 %, 4.2 %, and 2.7 %, respectively).
The data suggest that the smoking habits of the youth are continuing into young adults. With the increase in smoking exposure in Louisiana the rate of cardiovascular disease will likely occur earlier. A growing number of youth believe smoking “makes you cool” and that smokers have more friends. Further, fewer students believe second hand smoke is harmful. With nearly all tobacco use beginning in the youth population, it is imperative to prevent tobacco initiation among this group. Preventing initiation of tobacco use among youth requires a comprehensive understanding of the social, environmental, advertising and marketing influences that youth encounter.
- © 2013 by American Heart Association, Inc.