ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Putting off that First Puff: What Children Know and Don't Know about Smoking

Updated on February 19, 2012
Source

Many of the dangers of smoking are old news, but often parents fail to realize how dangerous experimenting is for children. When a teenager or tween tries a first cigarette, she has certainly already heard about the major dangers of adult smoking. What she may not know is the special risks she has as a young experimenter.

Unfortunately, kids’ desire to look sophisticated hasn’t changed. Pitching tobacco as a sophisticated or glamorous act continues in movies, models, and magazines. The New England Journal of Medicine reported that tobacco advertising’s reach to young people remained over 80% even after the major tobacco settlement of 1998.

What Children Don't Know

Schools and public health campaigns cast a wide net teaching the dangers of smoking. Blunt campaigns bring home the long-term message – smoking kills. Children may dismiss the big familiar fears of cancer, emphysema or addiction as risks only to the guy down the street who’s smoked for twenty years. They view their own playing around as temporary and harmless.

Childhood smoking, even if it doesn’t lead to addiction with the commiserate diseases of extensive exposure, carries grave risks for young lungs. Children who smoke suffer permanent lower lung function, retarded lung growth, and increased mucus production.

Regrettably, children also overestimate their own ability to resist addiction. The Centers for Disease Control reported that of 9th through 12th graders who began smoking daily, more than 60% had tried to quit, but fewer than 15% had been successful.The adult smoker population attests to this -- ninety percent of adult smokers tried their first cigarette by the age of eighteen.

A further consequence of youth smoking is that as adults, they tend to smoke more. As teens, tucking cigarettes out of sight of parents or authorities is a practiced art. Smokers who began as children consume more cigarettes than those who started later in life.

Perhaps the greatest danger of youth smoking is the gateway effect it has to illicit drug use. Department of Health and Human Services reports have repeatedly shown that current smokers are significantly more likely to also experiment with binge drinking and illicit drugs.

What Can Parents Do?

The University of Michigan Health System offers the following suggestions for concerned parents:

  • Be a good model.If you smoke, quit.Children from homes where one or both parents smoke are twice as likely to take up the habit
  • If you smoke and are having trouble quitting, make the children feel like they’re part of your quitting program. They’re participation will likely help dissuade them from smoking
  • Use tobacco industry marketing in movies and magazines as a jumping off point to discuss how marketing messages work to influence new smokers.

The health risks of smoking have been general knowledge for more than two generations.The formative health dangers to the young are still less known. Parents can step into their children’s prevention program by staying away from cigarettes themselves and raising awareness of tobacco marketing.A child who has avoided that first cigarette through childhood and the teen years has an excellent chance of never becoming a smoker.

Bibliography

1. King III, Charles, and Michael Siegel. “The Master Settlement Agreement with the Tabacco Industry and Cigarette Advertising in Magazines.” New England Journal of Medicine 345 No. 7 (2001) 504-511

2. Finkelstein, Jacob N., and Carl J. Johnston. “Enhanced Sensitivity of the Postnatal Lung to Environmental Insults and Oxidant Stress.” Pediatrics 113.4 (2004): 1092-1096.

3. United States. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. “Preventing Tobacco Use Among Young People: A Report of the Surgeon General.” 43.RR-4, 11 March 1994.

4. United States. Department of Health and Human Services. Public Health Service. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance – United States, 2007.. June 6, 2008; 57(SS-04).

5. Ibid.


Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)