Letter to the editor: What lead to decrease in youth smoking?

The report about the decline in smoking among Alaska high school students provided helpful numbers but it would be more useful if readers got more information on what is contributing to these numbers.

How have Alaskans been warding off the aggressive tobacco campaigns targeting their youth? Does the state tax in Alaska and municipal cigarette tax in Anchorage have a significant effect on smoking rates among teenagers? As a nursing student, I like to see evidence of what works and what doesn’t work. How effective are school education programs (if any) contributing to these decline in numbers? What has been done differently between now and 2007? I think understanding these factors will further help educators and the community target the remaining 10.6 percent of those teenagers who reported smoking. And tailoring antismoking campaigns according to demographics should be a priority to reduce the rate of smoking among Alaska Native teens.

Terri Phan

Student, University of San Diego

San Diego, California

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