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Studying trends and impacts of tobacco smoke

Narrator:       This is Science Today. Nationally, smoking rates among high school students has dropped and that decline can be attributable to outreach campaigns, higher taxes on tobacco products and more smoke-free air laws. But there are still cultural messages — often from movies — that may give teens a sense that smoking is cool. Wendy Max, a professor of health economics at the University of California, San Francisco's School of Nursing, says while there's progress, there's still more work to be done.

Max:              There's a lot of research going on at UCSF related to many aspects of tobacco use. Some colleagues are looking into what adolescents, what gets them to smoke, what do they think about the risks of smoking and hopefully this research will help us figure out ways to prevent them from ever starting or to quit if they do start.

Narrator:       Max has been studying the economic impact of smoking for decades.

Max:              It's not a health care cost; it's the value of the life that was lost, the years of life that would have been lived in the absence of this exposure.

Narrator:       For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.