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Industry News: State tobacco control policies may result in lower teen smoking rates
A preliminary state-by-state analysis suggests that state tobacco policies may have a measurable effect on teen smoking rates.
"To our knowledge this is the first time that a relationship has been empirically demonstrated between implemented state tobacco control policies and teen smoking," said lead author Douglas A. Luke, PhD.
States with more extensive tobacco control policies, such as New York, Connecticut, California, and Rhode Island, had significantly lower youth smoking rates than states with fewer such policies, such as South Dakota, Wisconsin, and Kentucky, found Luke and colleagues.
Desirable legislation involved the enforcement of smoking age restrictions, photo ID requirements for cigarette purchase, and incrementally severe penalties for stores caught selling cigarettes to minors.
The researchers emphasized that their study merely notes an association between strong policy and low teen smoking rates and does not prove that strong tobacco control policy is responsible for low smoking rates.
On average, Republican-controlled states had lower rates of tobacco control legislation than Democratic-controlled states, the researchers found. "This is not surprising given the historical relationship between the Republican party and the tobacco industry," noted Luke.
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