Why do teens smoke? Despite the risks, many kids are still lighting up. Why?It is no secret that smoking is bad for you. Parents, health experts, and even the U.S. Surgeon General The U.S. Surgeon General is charged with the protection and advancement of health in the United States. Since the 1960s the surgeon general has become a highly visible federal public health official, speaking out against known health risks such as tobacco use, and promoting disease tell you so. What you may not realize is that most smokers take up the habit before they reach adulthood. According to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, more than 90 percent of adult smokers start smoking as teens, or younger.
Studies show that younger smokers ate more likely to become addicted ad·dict·ed
1. Physiologically or psychologically dependent on a habit-forming substance.
2. Compulsively or habitually involved in a practice or behavior, such as gambling. to nicotine nicotine, C10H14N2, poisonous, pale yellow, oily liquid alkaloid with a pungent odor and an acrid taste. It turns brown on exposure to air. than people who start smoking later. If people can stay away from tobacco in their teens, says the American Cancer Society American Cancer Society,
n.pr established in 1913, this national volunteer-based health organization is committed to the elimination of cancer through prevention and treatment and to diminishing cancer suffering through advocacy, scholarship, research, , most would never start using it later in life.
Medical researchers proved long ago that smoking is linked to many health problems, including heart disease and strokes. The carcinogens Carcinogens
Substances in the environment that cause cancer, presumably by inducing mutations, with prolonged exposure.
Mentioned in: Colon Cancer, Rectal Cancer in cigarettes also make lung cancer lung cancer, cancer that originates in the tissues of the lungs. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States in both men and women. Like other cancers, lung cancer occurs after repeated insults to the genetic material of the cell. a top killer among smokers. About 440,000 people in the United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area. die each year from smoking- and tobacco-related illnesses, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC See Control Data, century date change and Back Orifice.
CDC - Control Data Corporation ).
The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids estimates that every day more than 4,000 kids smoke their first cigarette. About 1,500 of those kids become daily cigarette users. What makes cigarettes so tempting to kids?
Peer pressure is one of the biggest factors in youth smoking, says Danny McGoldrick, research director for Tobacco-Free Kids. Smoking, McGoldrick told JS, is a way for kids "to belong and rebel [against parents] at the same time."
Many teens across the country are working to change that attitude. YDoUThink, a Virginia antismoking an·ti·smok·ing
Opposed to or prohibiting the smoking of tobacco, especially in public: an antismoking campaign; an antismoking ordinance. campaign, has ah outreach youth program called Y St. (Y Street). Y St.'s teen volunteers go to concerts and other youth gatherings, and distribute pamphlets with messages such as "Smokers earn 10 percent less money than nonsmokers," and "Cigarettes contain formaldehyde--the same stuff used to preserve dead frogs."
Monnia Deng, 17, is a Y St. volunteer. She knows the pressures on teens to smoke. "I really didn't want to, but I [thought], 'Why would it hurt?'," Monnia says about being offered a cigarette. "Now that I think about it, it was really stupid. I feel like you should set your limits. Everybody has their goals, and mine is to be smoke-free."
Monnia says that teens respond positively to her message when she approaches them at concerts, parties, and the local mall. "When you're a teen," Monnia told JS, "you're trying to make friends and fit in. When someone close to your age approaches you, it makes the environment more social than, like, a lecture."
A lot of her friends smoke cigarettes simply "because they're bored," Monnia says. "They are very short-sighted."
Marketing to Kids
In 1998, the country's major tobacco companies reached a legal settlement with 46 states. The settlement was the result of states' efforts to get companies to help pay for the medical costs of tobacco-related illnesses. Among other restrictions, the settlement barred tobacco companies from targeting kids in their ads.
A spokesperson for Philip Morris USA Philip Morris USA is the United States tobacco division of Altria Group, Inc. General information
On January 27, 2003, Philip Morris Companies Inc. changed its name to Altria Group, Inc. Even under this new name, Altria continues to own 100% of Philip Morris USA. , the nation's largest cigarette company, told JS that the company made significant reductions in its advertising after the 1998 settlement.
But according to Tobacco-Free Kids, tobacco companies have actually increased their cigarette marketing expenditures by 125 percent since 1998. Ads pitched to adults still get through to kids, McGoldrick says. "It's all about creating a positive effect around smoking that makes it cool and acceptable," he told JS.
Monnia Deng and other teens are trying to counter such images with their own message. Teens see smoking as "cool now," Monnia says, "but they don't realize that this is actually a big deal."
Words to Know
* carcinogen carcinogen: see cancer.
Agent that can cause cancer. Exposure to one or more carcinogens, including certain chemicals, radiation, and certain viruses, can initiate cancer under conditions not completely understood. : any substance that produces cancer.
* nicotine: the addictive chemical found in tobacco.
THINK ABOUT IT
1. Why do you think kids start smoking?
2. What would you tell a friend who says that smoking is cool?
Students should understand
* some of the reasons U.S. teens smoke, even though most know that it is a danger to their health.
* WORDS TO KNOW
cancer: a harmful tumor tumor: see neoplasm. (mass of tissue) that invades healthy tissue as it spreads through the body * minors: people under the legal age for such things as smoking, drinking, and voting.
Some young people believe that smokeless tobacco smokeless tobacco,
n chewing tobacco (leaves) or tobacco powder (snuff) that allows the nicotine to be absorbed through the mucous membrane of the oral cavity or digestive tract. It is related to a high risk of oral cancer. is less dangerous than cigarettes or cigars. It is not: It damages the gums and causes cancers of the mouth, pharynx pharynx (fâr`ĭngks), area of the gastrointestinal and respiratory tracts which lies between the mouth and the esophagus. In humans, the pharynx is a cone-shaped tube about 4 1-2 in. (11.43 cm) long. , and esophagus esophagus (ĭsŏf`əgəs), portion of the digestive tube that conducts food from the mouth to the stomach. When food is swallowed it passes from the pharynx into the esophagus, initiating rhythmic contractions (peristalsis) of the . It also increases the risk of heart disease and strokes. (For more teen opinions on smoking, see Skills Master 2 on p. T-7.)
* CRITICAL THINKING
READING COMPREHENSION/RECALLING DETAILS: Why is smoking more dangerous to teens than it is to adults? (Young people are more likely to become addicted to nicotine than adults.)
FORMING AN OPINION OR ARGUMENT: Monnia Deng says that many teens smoke because they are bored, short-sighted, or think smoking is cool. Do you agree with her reasons? Why or why not? If you disagree, what do you think is the main reason teens smoke? (Answers will vary.)
ACT IT OUT: Have students describe various situations in which teens may be tempted to smoke. Have them role-play those situations, showing ways that teens might be able to emerge from them without smoking.
SOCIAL STUDIES, GRADES 5-8
* Individual development and identity: How examples of and pressures from friends may influence kids' decisions about smoking.
* Production, distribution, and consumption: Ways that cigarette companies, intentionally and unintentionally, influence teen smoking.
* Haughton, Emma, The Right to Smoke? (Sea to Sea Publications, 2005). Grades 4-8.
* Morgan, Sally, Smoking (Raintree, 2002). Grades 6 & up.
* Boyz II Men Boyz II Men is an American R&B/soul singing group from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Founded in 1988 as a quintet which originally included Marc Nelson, Boyz II Men found fame as a quartet, with members Nathan Morris, Michael McCary, Shawn Stockman, and Wanya Morris, on Motown on teen smoking www.cdc.gov/tobacco /askboyz2men.htm
* Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids tobaccofreekids.org
* Smoking-related graphs www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/aag /aag_osh.htm
* In each sentence below, change the boldfaced word or phrase to another one that will make the statement correct.
11. Kids who smoke are more likely to become addicted to advertising than older smokers.--
12. One expert says that smoking is a way that kids use to conform.--
13. Monnia says a lot of her friends smoke because they are excited.--
14. The carcinogens in cigarettes make smokers vulnerable to diabetes.--
15. In 1998, the top U.S. tobacco companies and 46 states reached a settlement in a lawsuit over the taxes of tobacco-related illnesses.--
13. bored or short-sighted
14. lung cancer
15. medical costs