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Federal Rule Has Reduced Teen Smoking, Study Says

A new study by the University of Massachusetts Medical School finds that teenage smoking has dropped more than twenty percent nationwide since states began cracking down on tobacco sales to minors. WBUR's Sacha Pfeiffer reports.

The researchers set out to measure the impact of a 1996 federal rule that required states to have laws prohibiting the sale of tobacco to children. Congress also ordered states to actually enforce those laws. Lead researcher Joseph DiFranza of UMass says the findings show the congressional mandate is working by making it much harder for teenagers to get their hands on cigarettes.

JOSEPH DIFRANZA: "Skeptics thought that kids can get tobacco no matter what you do, so why would it make any difference if kids couldn't go into stores to buy tobacco? They'd just get other people to go into the stores and buy them tobacco. But our study shows that the skeptics were wrong."

Dr. DiFranza says this suggests that states should put even more resources into preventing tobacco sales to minors. For WBUR, I'm Sacha Pfeiffer.

This program aired on April 17, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.

Sacha Pfeiffer Twitter Host, All Things Considered
Sacha Pfeiffer was formerly the host of WBUR's All Things Considered.

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