Cigarette use has dropped sharply among teens

Photo credit: The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

by Daniel Fink, MD, Chair, The Quiet Coalition

This report in the New York Times documents a sharp drop in smoking by teenagers.

Finally, decades of public health education about the dangers of smoking, restrictions on sales of cigarettes to minors, cigarette advertising, and no-smoking laws, appear to have worked.

Smoking is no longer cool. It doesn’t hurt that increased cigarette taxes have raised the average price of a pack of cigarettes above $6 in the U.S., and as much as $13 a pack in New York City, forcing most teens to choose between smoking and other things they’d rather do.

This report gives me hope that public health authorities can do something to prevent noise-induced hearing loss in teens by educating them about the dangers of noise for hearing; by requiring warning labels on personal music players, earbuds, and headphones; by restricting sales and use to older teens, perhaps above age 15; and perhaps by taxing these devices to fund a federal account to provide hearing aids to those damaged by personal music player use.

A recent editorial in the journal Pediatrics, titled “Adolescent Hearing Loss: Rising or Not, It Remains a Concern,” indicates that the problem is finally getting some attention in the pediatric community. [Note: The Pediatrics link is to a short abstract.  Subscription needed to read the full article.]

The first Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health was published in 1964. I hope it doesn’t take more than 50 years to protect young people’s hearing.

Dr. Daniel Fink is a leading noise activist based in the Los Angeles area. He serves on the board of the American Tinnitus Association, is the interim chair of Quiet Communities’s Health Advisory Council, and is the founding chair of The Quiet Coalition, an organization of science, health, and legal professionals concerned about the impacts of noise on health, environment, learning, productivity, and quality of life in America.

Comments (3)

  1. Suzanne Knight

    This is great news – thank you for an excellent article that includes insight on government’s role and responsibility to regulate and educate. It takes time often but it does work. This is why we are pushing for passage of HR 3938 in Congress. It will require the FAA to obtain a National Academies of Science Consensus reporton the dangerous health impacts of overflight aircraft noise and pollution on people .

  2. janlmayes

    Unfortunately many are using e-cigarettes. If not organic, vape juice contains propylene glycol which is ototoxic. E-cigarette users report hearing loss, tinnitus and hyperacusis and FDA warns against this problem. But no action being taken to make vape juice safe.

    1. GMB (Post author)

      Did not know this. Would you have any interest in writing something for Silencity about this?


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