Teenage smoking is on the rise but the right services can save these young lives
Thursday, October 13, 2011 by: Duke Mansell
(NaturalNews) Being a teenager is a time young adults attempt to learn and discover who they are. Along the way teenagers make good and bad decisions that help shape who they become. Many of these experiences can be mild in scope but some cases of poor judgment can have a far reaching effect on future health. Teenage smoking is on the rise and with it teens' potential future health is at risk. Can teenagers attempting to find themselves and fit in with friends quit a habit that can be terribly addicting for life? What is available to teen smokers who wish to quit if they discover they are on the wrong path?
Adult smoking has begun to level off, but teenage smoking is on the rise across the nation. It is well documented that smoking shortens a person's life. Tobacco smoking is the single greatest cause of preventable death globally, so programs to reach teens should be as aggressive as the industry's push on children to begin smoking. The most common diseases associated with long term smoking are cardiovascular issues affecting the heart and lungs. Smoking is a major risk factor for heart attacks, strokes, COPD and cancer.
The FDA, which is meant to protect the American consumer, has done little to regulate tobacco manufacturing and marketing. Currently 17-19.5 percent of American teenagers are smokers according to the CDC and one third are estimated to continue smoking into adulthood and die from a smoking-related disease.
This information makes it obvious that to continue to curb adult smoking something must be done at the teenage level when smoking begins. While numerous studies have been completed on reducing the numbers of adult smokers, little has been done to address teens.
One study published in October's issue of Pediatrics indicates that a program with a dual approach, including counseling and physical activity, offers an example of what could work. In this study the children selected at random from different schools were put into one of three groups. The first group was given brief counseling and offered a group session once a week. The second group was offered the same as the first group plus a log book and pedometer to record their daily steps. The third group received 15 minutes of smoking cessation advice.
At the six month mark 16% of the third group reported still not smoking; 21% of the 1st group reported still not smoking; and 31% percent of the teens in the second group were still not smoking.
Many differences were noted for the reasons teens and adults smoke. For teens beginning to smoke factors included: it being the norm in the peer group or rebelling against parents. Whatever reason teenagers begin to smoke it appears that counseling with exercise is a great way to switch up routine and begin the teenagers on another habit.
It should be noted the exercise was very minimal, consisting only of walking. With an actual planned exercise program more teenagers may have gravitated away from smoking. There was also no dietary changes or supplements used that would have assisted in any nutritional deficiencies or detoxifications to make the withdrawal from nicotine easier.
What is clear: the increased sense of wellbeing that exercise and counseling provide is of statistical significance in assisting teenagers who need help in smoking cessation. Increased physical activity and services may provide additional incentive to continue the non-smoking habit, but further study is needed into teenage smoking to find what works best.