Student Smoking Popularity On Decline

Melynn Huntley, Tobacco Free Amarillo
Melynn Huntley, Tobacco Free Amarillo

Tobacco Free Amarillo is seeing less Amarillo ISD students choosing to smoke. The average age for students to try their first cigarette in AISD went from age 10 to nearly 12 in the last five years.

And school law officers say they are giving fewer smoking citations this year compared to last. Television commercials about the effects of tobacco and education in school is what Tobacco Free Amarillo members say is proving to deter students from tobacco.

However, there are cultural influences outside of the classroom some say are causing young students to start.

Melynn Huntley of Tobacco Free Amarillo and AISD says, "I think living in the Panhandle and having more parents that smoke here, does tend to lead to more kids, smoking. It's also proven that because we have smoke in our restaurants that we're gonna have a higher smoking rate."

There is progress for tobacco free Amarillo in the adult population as well. Amarillo residents who say they still smoke everyday have decreased from 44% percent in 1999 to 36% percent in 2007.

Huntley says tobacco Free Amarillo is continuing to encourage state lawmakers to make Amarillo smoke-free someday.