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Fewer teenagers use tobacco

Great news comes from the Alabama Department of Public Health as it released some of the data from the 2008 Youth Tobacco Survey.

The report shows a 17.5 percent decrease in teen smoking compared with 2006. The results are based on a sampling of nearly 1,400 students surveyed in 43 public high schools earlier this year.

The report says about 47,926 Alabama high school students smoke. Most favor cigarettes.

The report also noted a decline of teenagers using smokeless tobacco from 12.2 percent in 2006 to 10.9 percent this year.

That’s better than the national average, which the Centers for Disease Control report is 20 percent.

Keeping tobacco products out of the hands of teenagers through strict laws helps make it harder for young people to obtain them. Additionally, children can’t steal cigarettes from non-smoking parents.

The message also has gotten across that tobacco kills.

Cigarette smoke turns the fingers yellow and makes a person stink.

What teenager do you know wants to be a stigma in society?

And there’s help for those who want to quit. They can call Alabama’s Quitline to talk with counselors and sign up for over-the-counter quit aids like nicotine patches.

Teenagers may call the line for counseling, but it’s uncertain if they can obtain the nicotine patches.

There are other ways to quit. Talk to your health care professional.