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Press Release

Department of Health and Human Services Highlights Concerns in New Data Brief
Adolescent Cigarette Smoking and Marijuana Use
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Public Information Office
(603) 271-9388

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Tobacco Prevention and Control Program
Publish Date:
March 18, 2015

Concord, NH – In a 2013 study, 72% of New Hampshire high school–aged youth reported that they did not smoke cigarettes or use marijuana during the 30 days prior to the survey. However, 28% reported smoking and marijuana use, or both. The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Division of Public Health Services (DPHS) has released a new data brief entitled New Hampshire Adolescent Cigarette Smoking and Marijuana Use Adobe Acrobat Reader Symbol, which highlights data from the 2013 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS). Results from the analysis highlight the link between adolescent cigarette smoking and initiation of marijuana use. The YRBS data show why reducing youth cigarette smoking and marijuana use are extremely important for New Hampshire.

The brief is being highlighted for Kick Butts Day 2015, an annual celebration for youth advocacy, leadership, and activism. On March 18th, thousands of youth, teachers, and health advocates across the United States and beyond stand out, speak up, and seize control against Big Tobacco.

While the majority of New Hampshire youth do not use tobacco, more than 1 in 4 high school youth reported cigarette use, marijuana use, or both. Even more alarming, among high school–aged youth who reported current or previous marijuana use, current cigarette smokers were 3.3 times more likely to have first used marijuana before the age of 13 than were non-cigarette smokers.

"It is concerning for New Hampshire that 70% of the high school–aged youth surveyed who reported smoking cigarettes also reported using marijuana," said Dr. José Montero, Director of Public Health at DHHS. "The effects of smoking cigarettes and marijuana use can have long-term health consequences for adolescents once they reach adulthood; earlier use of addictive substances such as nicotine and marijuana can have a damaging effect on adolescent brain development. Kick Butts Day is a great time for youth to speak out about healthy choices they can make in their own lives—they can choose not to use tobacco."

Preventing young people from starting to smoke and/or using marijuana begins with increasing their knowledge of the dangers of tobacco use, changing their attitudes toward tobacco use, and increasing public support for policies that reduce the likelihood that they will use tobacco. To get involved in Kick Butts Day, visit www.kickbuttsday.org.

DHHS currently offers free tobacco treatment counseling and nicotine replacement patches to adult residents who call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (www.TryToStopNH.org) and are eligible. Resources on drug misuse/abuse for youth can be found at www.drugfreenh.org. For more information about the DHHS Division of Public Health Services, the Tobacco Prevention and Control Program, or the Bureau of Drug and Alcohol Services, visit www.dhhs.nh.gov.

Editor's note: some data points have been updated since first publishing.

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