Posts Tagged teen nicotine 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.”
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.
What does being rich or poor have to do with drinking and smoking? A study reveals that for teens, being rich leads to alcohol consumption while being poor leads to cigarette smoking.
In a report from Reuters, the researchers from the University of Bristol found out that drinking and smoking habits of teens are largely dependent on their families’ economic status. Among the 5,837 13-year-old kids that they studied, those who come from high-income families are drinking more, while those of the poorer families often light up cigarettes instead. They too are 22 percent less likely to drink compared to their rich counterparts. The results of their study have been published in an issue of the journal on Pediatrics.
Another interesting fact that came out of the study was that teens whose moms have higher levels of education, regardless of social status, drink less too.
This result can be linked to the fact that most of the alcohol that teens consume come from their own homes. Mothers who put an emphasis on their child’s health and who educate themselves about the dangers of teen drinking usually lock up their cabinets where alcoholic drinks are stored. This makes it harder for teens at home to access them.
Teen drinking problems is most common in wealthier families, and parents that bring in higher incomes in a family should take this issue seriously. They should ensure that kids at home will not be able to see or get hold of their alcoholic substances at home.
Parents of lower-income families, on the other hand, should be wary of their child’s health when it comes to smoking. They too should act as caretakers of the health of their families.
In Montana, officials, school authorities and parents are doing what they can to help keep children and adolescents stay away from tobacco use. The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services together with concerned citizens have launched programs to discourage tobacco use through Quit Line and reACT.
Yet this joint effort is easily toppled by tobacco manufacturers, with the amount they spend on advertising almost four times more than what the state spends on anti-tobacco programs. Leading tobacco company R.J. Reynolds in Montana claims that the target group of their product is the adult user, and that there’s nothing they could do if teens somehow get hold of their cigarettes.
According to reACT Youth Empowerment Coordinator Erin Kintop, tobacco industries are simply using more of the addictive component in their products to have more users and to be able to gain large margins of profit. This is why there is a need for proper education of teens regarding the harmful addictive quality of cigarettes before they begin experimenting. Reaching out to the youth before addiction sets in is the most effective way to discourage them from using tobacco.
For officer Noal Petty of the Helena Police School Resource Department, peer pressure plays a big role on why teens are tempted to smoke. Anytime a teenager is with friends, he or she can be easily pushed to take on the plunge and be addicted to cigarettes. He agrees that educating the youth and information drive efforts are very critical.
A lot of teens get into smoking thinking that most others do. This is completely inaccurate. Majority of the youth do not smoke, and so if we base being ‘cool’ or not on how prevalent the habit is, avoiding smoking is actually the ‘cool’ thing to do.
There are several reasons why any teen should not smoke, not even try to. Studies have already established that even the first puff of smoke can already trigger a series of damaging reactions in the body. Here are some of the reasons you should stay away from smoking:
1. Unhealthy skin. Smoking restricts blood vessels, thereby preventing the transport of oxygen and nutrients to the skin. This results to pale and unhealthy skin. A study has also established a link between increased risk of developing psoriasis, a type of skin disease, and smoking.
2. Lower physical stamina and increased risk of injury. Carbon monoxide not only robs your skin but also your muscles, brain and other body tissues of oxygen. This makes your heart, lungs and the rest of the body work harder. Smokers usually find a hard time competing with non-smoking peers because of rapid heartbeat, decreased circulation and shortness of breath.
3. Bad breath and body odor. Most smokers develop a condition called halitosis, or persistent bad breath. Also, the smell of cigarette and its smoke tends to stay on one’s hair, clothes and skin.
4. Smoking kills. Lung cancer is one of the top preventable cancers in the world. Not smoking significantly decreases risk of lung cancer. Aside from lung cancer, smoking also causes several other serious diseases like heart attack, stroke, emphysema, pregnancy complications, and other cancers.
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.