Every year the Roscoe Police Department participates in the Tobacco Enforcement program along with the Illinois Liquor Control Commission. We receive grant money to conduct the buy programs, and we encourage youths 15-17 years of age to contact us if they are interested in participating. The youths are paid under this grant, and are able to use this program on future applications for college and jobs.

Here are a few stats, and general information about tobacco and our youth. If you have any questions or are interested in working with us please contact Chief Jamie Evans. We are looking for youths between the ages of 15-17 years of age in good standing with the community to help us. Youths are paid for assisting us and are trained. Youths are also given an award by the Governor, and can use their work with the police department on college applications.

“The earlier tobacco use begins, the more likely it will develop into an addictive lifestyle pattern. Approximately 80 percent of adults who smoke began smoking before the age of 18. “ – This excerpt from the 2008 Youth Tobacco Survey captures the essence of why our Tobacco Enforcement Program exists.

Every two years the Illinois Department of Public Health conducts the Youth Tobacco Survey. Approximately 3,600 middle and high schools throughout the state participate in this comprehensive survey. The following address will link you to the survey if you would like to review it in its entirety: http://www.idph.state.il.us/TobaccoWebSite/ILYTS2008.pdf. If you take the time I think you will find it quite interesting. However, there are several key findings related to our work in youth access which I would like to share.

Tobacco Use

• Eleven percent of middle school students and 27.5 percent of high school students currently use tobacco products.

• Cigars are the most commonly used tobacco product among middle school students (5.9%), whereas cigarettes are the most commonly used tobacco product among high school students (18.8%).

• High school students (8.2%) are approximately four times more likely to report having smoked cigarettes on school property in the past 30 days than are middle school students (2.0%).

• Between sixth (4.3%) and 12th grade (17.2%), there is a four-fold increase in the rate of cigar smoking.

• Smokeless tobacco products are used by 2.1 percent of middle school students and 8.1 percent of high school students.

Age of Initiation

“How old were you when you smoked a whole cigarette for the first time?” Students were asked how old they were when they smoked a whole cigarette for the first time. Two indicators of early use were assessed: the proportion of students who have ever smoked who smoked a whole cigarette before age 11, and the age at which high school students who have ever smoked reported smoking their first whole cigarette.

• 24.7 percent of Illinois middle school students and 14.9 percent of Illinois high school students report smoking a whole cigarette for the first time before the age of 11. These rates are comparable to the national averages for middle school and high school students (25.9% and 14.1%, respectively).3

• 39.5 percent of male high school students and 44.2 percent of female high school students report smoking their first whole cigarette in early adolescence (11 to 14 years of age). The greatest proportion of male and female high school students report smoking their first whole cigarette between the ages of 15 and 16.

Access

• More than one-half of middle school and high school students who currently smoke obtain their cigarettes from social sources, rather than buying them directly from a store or vendor.

• More than one-half of high school students (56.3%) who currently smoke report they were not asked to show proof of age when buying cigarettes in a store.

• Approximately two-thirds of middle school (63.7%) and high school students (67.8%) who currently smoke report they were not refused purchase of cigarettes because of their age.

Cessation

• Approximately one-half of middle school (46.5%) and high school students (51.2%) who currently smoke cigarettes want to quit.

• During their last quit attempt, more than one-half of middle school (57.2%) and high school students (69.5%) who currently smoke were unable to quit cigarettes for 30 days or more.

Knowledge and Attitudes

• In both middle school (28.1%) and high school (22.9%), approximately one in four students who currently smoke think it is safe to smoke for a year or two.

• Approximately one in five middle school (19.8%) and high school students (19.1%) believe that light (low-tar) cigarettes have less risk than regular (full-flavor) cigarettes.

• In both middle school and high school, current smokers (41.4% and 32.7%, respectively) are significantly more likely than never smokers (16.0% and 14.8%, respectively) to believe that smokers have more friends.

• In both middle school and high school, current smokers (28.8% and 30.6%, respectively) are significantly more likely than never smokers (9.7% and 8.4%, respectively) to believe that smoking cigarettes makes young people look cool or fit in.

• In both middle school and high school, students who have never smoked (77.6% and 70.4%, respectively) are significantly more likely than those who currently smoke cigarettes (29.0% and 27.0%, respectively) to think that their friends would be upset if the smoked cigarettes.