NH DHHS - Youth Tobacco Survey

Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Division of Public Health Services, Tobacco Prevention & Control Program (TPCP) today releases the findings from the 2007-2009 Youth Tobacco Survey (YTS). The Survey provides comprehensive data from both middle school and high school students.

“We are making progress and seeing a reduction in the use of some tobacco products, such as cigarettes,” said Dr. José Montero, Director of Public Health at DHHS. “This is important from a prevention standpoint because tobacco is a leading cause of cancer and a number of chronic diseases in our population. Still there are concerns that young people may be increasing their use of other tobacco products such as smokeless tobacco, which opens the door to nicotine addiction and future smoking.”

The Youth Tobacco Survey is funded by a cooperative grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The report is conducted every two years by the TPCP and contains tobacco-related questions that are supplemental to other surveys, such as the Youth Risk Behavior Survey, which provides only prevalence data. There are 74 tobacco questions in the YTS that cover tobacco use (i.e., bidis, cigarettes, cigars, kreteks, tobacco pipes, and smokeless tobacco); exposure to secondhand smoke; smoking cessation; school curriculum; minors’ ability to purchase or obtain tobacco products; and knowledge and attitudes about tobacco and familiarity with pro-tobacco and anti-tobacco media messages.

Some of the major findings from the YTS conducted during the years 2001 through 2009 include:

The smoking prevalence for New Hampshire high school students has significantly declined from 25.3% in 2001 to 16% in 2009.
There is no significant difference in the smoking prevalence between male and female students; 15.8% of female high school students smoke compared with 16.5% of male students.
High school males were more likely than high school females to smoke other tobacco products, such as cigars, tobacco in a pipe, bidis (thin cigarettes made of tobacco flake wrapped in a leaf and secured with a colored thread on both ends), or kreteks (cigarettes made with a blend of tobacco, cloves, and other flavors), or to use spit tobacco.
Most high school current smokers obtained cigarettes by giving someone else money to buy cigarettes (33.2%) or by “bumming” them (29.0%).
Twelve percent of high school current smokers reported purchasing their own cigarettes from a store or vending machine, which in most cases means underage access to tobacco.
Forty percent of current high school smokers said that they would like to quit, 52% said that they tried to quit, and 39% of former smokers said that they have remained tobacco free.
84.5% of high school students reported seeing images of tobacco used by actors on television or in the movies and 25.5% reported seeing tobacco used by athletes on television or in the movies in the past year.
The proportion of high school students who have been exposed to secondhand tobacco smoke by being in a room or in a car with a smoker declined significantly from 72% in 2001 to 54.2% in 2009, indicating changing attitudes and an increasing number of smoke-free homes in New Hamsphire.

This survey is one of the topics DHHS is focusing on this week in recognition of National Public Health Week. For more information about National Public Health Week go to www.nphw.org. For more information about the Youth Tobacco Survey please call the NH TPCP at 1-800-852-3345 x6891 or view it on the NH Department of Health and Human Services website at www.dhhs.nh.gov after 2:05 today. For more information about quitting tobacco, go to www.TryToStopNH.org or call the NH Smokers’ Helpline at 1-800-Try-To-STOP (1-800-879-8678).