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Young adults: When prevention is critical

Prevention is critical in the years for young adults aged 17-18. As youth grow up, leave home, and enter the workforce or go off to college, peer and life pressures escalate. During this age of experimentation, youth feel invincible and are most vulnerable to the pressures of trying smoking or chewing tobacco.

Maine’s young adult smoking rate is more than 26%.

When young adults enter a new age of experimentation and life pressures, Big Tobacco’s slick marketing tactics and flood of messages to teens that smoking is an “adult behavior” start to work. Watch the Tobacco Never Quits TV Campaign to see how the tobacco industry targets 18-year olds and college students.

Nationally, college-age smoking rates rose dramatically in the 1990s. Today, almost 27% of college students smoke in the U.S. The rates are higher among young adults who leave home and go straight to work – more than 37% of them smoke. Get more facts about Big Tobacco.

New research focuses on young smokers in the workforce.

New research has been conducted across the country in an effort to more effectively communicate with young adults about tobacco. One study, commissioned by the Colorado State Tobacco Education and Prevention Partnership researched young adult smokers ages 18-24 who have chosen to go straight to work rather than pursue college, and are working to get out of the house, get a job, and pursue their newfound freedom.

The study produced compelling data. According to the research, kids who go straight to work see fewer benefits in living a longer, healthier life that would be worth the sacrifice of not smoking. For them, smoking is associated with reducing stress, making social connections and indulging in an enjoyable activity in a world that may provide little joy. Though these smokers admitted it was a choice to smoke, they doubted they would ever quit.

Read more about Colorado’s Straight to Work Research.

Resources for tobacco prevention for young adults:

How The ACS Can Help In Making Your Campus Become Smoke-Free is an interactive, in-your-face website that helps young adults learn the truth about Big Tobacco.

Find more information for Educators about Young Adult tobacco prevention.

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