Connecticut Initiative Aims at Teen Tobacco Use

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CT Boys & Girls Clubs launch the 'Be Smart, Don't Start' community initiative to prevent nicotine addiction leading lifelong tobacco use. Kick-off press conference at the New Haven Boys & Girls Club on Thursday, November 13, 4:00 P.M.

tobacco free kids connecticut

Be Smart Don't Start

An estimated 56,000 children living in Connecticut today will ultimately die prematurely from smoking-related diseases.

The Connecticut Alliance of the Boys & Girls Clubs has launched its Be Smart, Don’t Start initiative to alert teens and their families to the risks of tobacco use and e-cigarettes.

The centerpiece of the initiatives is a new tobacco and e-cigarette curriculum now taught at the Boys & Girls Clubs throughout Connecticut. The initiative also includes community forums open to families.

“The number of new teen smokers had been declining in Connecticut, but far too many teens are still experimenting with tobacco and getting hooked,” said Don Maleto, executive director of the Connecticut Alliance of the Boys & Girls Clubs.

Approximately 25% of high school seniors in the United States smoke tobacco. In Connecticut, 7.3 million packs of cigarettes are bought or smoked by minors each year. An estimated 56,000 children living in Connecticut today will ultimately die prematurely from smoking-related diseases.

Nicotine found in tobacco has been found to be as addictive as heroin or cocaine, the Center for Disease Control has reported. Those who start smoking before age 21 have the hardest time breaking the habit.

E-cigarettes deliver equivalent levels of nicotine as traditional cigarettes. More than a quarter of a million minors who had never smoked a cigarette used electronic cigarettes in 2013, according to a Center for Disease Control study. This number reflects a three-fold increase, from about 79,000 in 2011, to more than 263,000 in 2013. On October 1, 2014, a new Connecticut law restricting the sale of e-cigarettes to minors became effective.

“We are grateful to both the Connecticut Tobacco and Health Trust and CVS Health for supporting this initiative,” Maleto says.

A press conference will be held at 4:00pm on Thursday, November 13, 2014 at the Boys & Girls Club of New Haven, 253 Columbus Avenue, New Haven, CT 06510.

Fact sheet downloads:

CT Teen Tobacco Use: Fact Sheet

Teens & E-cigarettes: Fact Sheet

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Don Maleto
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