When I last visited our local shopping centre I could not believe the number of teenage smokers. I'm sure some of them were no older than twelve. Where are we going wrong with our youth?
There has always been peer group pressure with teenage smoking, they want to keep up with their friends and if its cool for their friends to be smoking then it's cool for them as well. And we can't ignore the fact that a lot of teenagers come from homes where at least one parent is a smoker. It gives them a feeling of being older than their years, it kind of empowers them, but unfortunately, not always in a good way. Teenage smokers are often more aggressive and disrespectful to others, particularly older people. In some cases because it's considered a forbidden activity by teachers and parents, it becomes the forbidden fruit that they just have to try, satisfying the rebellious streak that's quite normal in many teenagers.
There are huge amounts of money spent on anti smoking campaigns but even so it's still estimated that every minute thousands of teenagers will take there first puff on a cigarette. How many of those will become addicted, smoke for most of their life and become another health statistic. Whith the benefit of modern day media coverage, you would think that teenage smoking would be falling not increasing as the figures are currently showing. What do we have to do to make them see the light.
There is no doubt that smoking with groups of friends has a social aspect to it, that was seen in the cigar bars and certain clubs, but thankfully has now lost it's attraction for most of the community. It was said it encouraged conversation and companionship, even the tea break at work was often referred to as the smoko break where smokers would do there best to finish a whole cigarette in the short time they had. But when you weigh up the social aspects against the health issues, it would seem obvious which should win out. But until we can get the message across in a better way, one that teenagers can identify with, then the battle for the health of our future adults is yet to be won.
Teenager's smokers also have a unique problem should they decide they no longer want to smoke. The friends they hang out with who continue to smoke may ridicule and poke fun at them. This can be very difficult for teenagers as they are at stage in their lives where they need to be accepted but at the same time can also be emotionally sensitive. Parents need to keep this in mind when offering support and encouragement to their teens.
Don't let your children's health be compromised, make sure they are fully informed of the health effects of smoking before they get hooked.
You can find more free information on teenage smoking and it's effects by visiting http://www.quittingsmokingtips.com a very useful web site dedicated to helping smokers beat the habit.
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