Posts Tagged teen cigarette abuse
A new US Surgeon General report is warning that youth smoking can be promoted through advertising campaigns that tobacco manufacturing companies use to sell their products.
While the report does not directly conclude that packaging materials are also responsible in enticing kids to smoke, it suggests that the way they are designed nowadays appear to be more attractive to youth smokers which could persuade them to try the product.
The report includes the fact that although youth smoking has declined over the years, the rate by how much it has gone down in the last few years has significantly slowed down. Surgeon General Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said that more and more people in the United States aged 18 and below are becoming daily cigarette smokers.
In 1994, the Surgeon General issued a similar report focusing on how tobacco ads can increase the risks for adolescent smoking and the importance of getting the whole community involved to help discourage kids from cigarette use.
The latest report is warning parents, concerned citizens, and even the youth population to be wary of the strategies utilized by tobacco companies in encouraging youth smoking. Examples are the marketing materials for cigarettes that are strategically placed near areas where they can easily get children’s attention.
The same initiative has been undertaken by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids alongside the American Heart Association wherein a report entitled “Deadly Alliance” showed how tobacco manufacturers are taking advantage of their spots in convenience stores when they put their products near child-friendly items like candies.
Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids President Matt Myers reiterates the need for parents to be critical on how cigarettes are marketed as they lead kids to try smoking. “But it’s also important that they become involved in their community,” Myers says. “The way to reduce tobacco use among American kids is if parents get involved and demand that states fund comprehensive tobacco control programs.”
In a latest survey conducted among teens in the United States, it has been noted that while tobacco and alcohol use declined among the youth, marijuana use increased.
Dr. Nora Volkow, who heads the National Institute on Drug Abuse, said that the decline in tobacco use among teens is welcome news. Yet the rate of its decline goes slower and slower over the years, and this could still be a concern for everybody. “This highlights the urgency of maintaining strong prevention efforts against teen smoking and of targeting other tobacco products,” Volkow said.
Survey results also confirmed that marijuana use among high school students has reached 25% in the past year compared to about 21% in 2007. The most troubling reality uncovered by the survey is the fact that daily marijuana use among senior high school students is at 7%. This percentage is by far the highest since 1981.
The rise in marijuana use could be due to the fact that mortality rates linked to marijuana use is by far much lower than reported tobacco fatalities. Smoking marijuana is perceived as much safer than cigarettes therefore more individuals are getting into the habit of pot smoking instead of cigarettes. What teens might be disregarding is that daily marijuana use leads to addiction which in turn could mean more serious conditions.
Alcohol use among teens is also on the decline. Reports regarding fatal cases on driving under the influence, higher risks for addiction and overdose, and violent reactions related to alcohol use have discouraged teens from alcohol abuse.
The Addiction and Substance Abuse arm of the Columbia University has released findings from their study which suggests that teen smoking is related to increasing substance abuse cases among teens. It was found out that teens who smoke are 13 times more likely to develop drug addiction problems and five times more likely to binge drink compared to those who are non-smokers.
The latest study shows that teens 12 to 17 years old who smoke have 26% more chances of becoming drug dependent while non-smokers only have a minimal 2% chance. These findings are quite alarming, as a parallelism can be observed in the data gathered on adults who are in drug rehab facilities. The numbers of drug addicts who are non-smokers are significantly much lower than those who are smokers.
The latest report also includes the increasing rates of heavy drinkers among the adolescent population and that marijuana ranks as the top drug choice of the youth. Again smoking relates to these statistics, with teen smokers 13 times more prone to marijuana use than non-smokers. What these results present is a grim picture of kids who smoke early will also develop other addictions which could lead to serious health conditions later on in their lives.
This is why some concerned groups are suggesting that drug treatment facilities should be offered to teens who smoke. Sure, no one has been into rehab just for smoking cigarettes, but what has been implied in the study should make parents and authorities open up to the idea. Kids who smoke and find it hard to quit should seek help before they go into more complicated situations.
If it means cutting the risks of teen drug abuse and alcohol addiction, then parents should welcome the idea of submitting their teen smokers to drug rehab facilities to give these kids the opportunity to let go of their dangerous habits.
The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at the Columbia University in New York recently shared alarming statistics on teens under substance abuse. According to the report, almost 50% of the American teen population is now into drinking, smoking or drug abuse, and many of them become addicts before they reach the age of 18.
The report also cited alcohol as the most common drug of choice by high school students, followed by cigarettes and marijuana. Of the ten million high school students in the country, 75% of them have already experimented with alcohol, marijuana, and even cocaine, with one out of every five qualifying in the criteria of being an addict.
CASA vice president and director of research Susan E. Foster says that their study sends out the message to parents that it’s time to intervene and prevent addictions of their teens. “Do everything you can to get young people through their teen years without using drugs or alcohol,” she says. “Every year they don’t use drugs or alcohol reduces their risk of negative consequences, such as addiction.”
Teen substance abuse has become a very big problem. But Dr. Stephen Grcevich, a child psychologist from the Family Center in Ohio, says that the problem can be avoided with parents guiding their children at the earliest stage. There is a need for parents to influence their kids even in their early years so that by the time they reach teenage years, they would be able to handle the pressure and eventually say no to drugs and alcohol.
People who drink only by age 21 are 40% less likely to become addicts later on in life than those who start drinking even before they reach 15 years old. The human brain is still developing between the ages of 15 and 22, and the process could be negatively affected by drinking, smoking or drug use.
It is common for teenagers to explore many things and be eternally curious. While this type of behavior is perfectly normal, smoking is one of the most dangerous paths they can take. The social effects alone can be damaging, but the more serious risks a teenage smoker faces are those related to health.
Many studies have been conducted on teenage smoking and results have been the least promising. Heart disease is one of the more serious risks due to teenage body’s continued exposure to nicotine. This is because the gases produced tend to weaken the heart muscle and cause plaque buildups in the arteries. Respiratory disease is another, asthma and pneumonia being the most commonly reported. Smoking in teens also increases the risk of stunted bone growth which means teen smokers might grow up to be shorter adults than their nonsmoking friends.
Other common effects of teenage smoking include infertility both for girls and boys, dry skin and a weakening of the immune system. Because of their young age, kids’ antibodies are fairly underdeveloped and are, thus, very sensitive to hazardous elements such as nicotine. This becomes a problem when these antibodies remain immature even as the person ages, causing reduced capability to ward off infections. The individual then ends up falling ill more frequently and sometimes more seriously than others.
Halitosis or bad breath might be one of the more taken for granted risks but experts regard it with importance as it may escalate into an oral cancer symptom. While there are no conclusive studies proving this link, it is not necessary to wait.
When it comes to their health, some teenagers can be quite reckless. Parents can explore devoting a few minutes of their time educating their children about the health hazards of smoking from an early age. When reinforced by schools, there is a better chance of channeling these kids’ attention away from this habit that has claimed one too many lives.