Saturday, January 16, 2010

Sue Scheff: Teens Smoking Cigarettes on the Decrease

Are we finally seeing peer pressure in a positive direction? A new government survey finds that more kids are smoking marijuana, abusing prescription drugs and using smokeless tobacco than a decade ago. But there is one area of abuse that is going down dramatically- cigarettes. (Connect with Kids)

There can be many factors for this, and it would be nice to know if kids are just telling kids that smoking is not cool. Other reasons could be the accessibility has become more difficult. Either way, it is a good news that smoking cigarettes among kids are decreasing.

Research shows that a vast majority of smokers began when they were children or teenagers. While recent legislation has helped reduce smoking, it still remains an important health concern. Consider the following statistics from the U.S. Surgeon General:

  • Approximately 80 percent of adult smokers started smoking before the age of 18.
  • More than 5 million children living today will die prematurely because of a decision they make as adolescents - the decision to smoke cigarettes.
  • Nearly all first uses of tobacco occur before high school graduation.
  • Most young people who smoke are addicted to nicotine and report that they want to quit but are unable to do so.
  • Tobacco is often the first drug used by young people who use alcohol and illegal drugs.
  • Among young people, those with poorer grades and lower self-image are most likely to begin using tobacco.
  • Young people who come from low-income families and have fewer than two adults living in their household are especially at risk for becoming smokers.
If your teen is smoking, encourage them to join an anti-smoking group. If you are a smoker, you should consider quitting with your teen. Teens want boundaries, even if their actions speak otherwise, our children need boundaries. Talking about why smoking is bad for them, as well as the serious health issues that come with tobacco, it is important that you don't stop reminding them of this. Even if you think they aren't listening, they are.

Reference: Fewer Kids Smoking, Connect with Kids

Florida Quitline - Be proactive in helping your teen quit smoking.

Be an educated parent, you will have healthier teens. Also on Examiner.