Underage Tobacco Use Declining

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By Ben Jeffords
By Sam Jones

JACKSON COUNTY -- A new federal report shows underage tobacco sales are at record lows nationwide. They've fallen 40 percent in the past 15 years.

Experts attribute the drop to many things, from an increase in taxes on tobacco products, to stricter enforcement, sanctions, and more inspections.

But the numbers are not nearly as good in Southern Illinois.
Tobacco use is higher here than the rest of the state.

"Youth needs to think twice about starting smoking, seems like something to do that friends are doing. harder to quit than they think," said Miriam Link-Mullison, director of the Jackson County Health Department.

Young adults in the area echo the health department's findings.
They say it's easier for minors to get tobacco than we might think.

"People like me who sees a kid 16 or 17, asking me to buy them tobacco, ill tell them no. Some people might support their habit," explained Jeffery Brown.

"A lot of my friends now say they started when they were younger and never quit," Madison Young added.

The Health Department's message to young people is quit now.
They say it's hard, but not impossible.

For support, you can call 1 (866) QUIT-YES or visit www.quityes.org
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