Break cycle of addiction

The common reasons young people begin using tobacco products are easy to identify. First-time users typically have an adult or sibling smoker in their home and that family connection often enables less restrictive access to cigarettes and chewing tobacco.

Young smokers also admit that they initially light up because they are drawn by the notion that smoking is a perceived as a grown-up activity or they feel peer pressure to emulate their friends who smoke. Of course, people this age aren’t generally inclined to stop and read a Surgeon General’s warning label or consider the myriad of other negative aspects of tobacco use.

It’s also interesting to note that most teen smokers claim that they’ll be non-smokers within five years. Unfortunately, that’s simply not the case for the majority who sadly turn a short-term fascination with tobacco into a life-long, although often life-shortening, addiction.

While it’s relatively simple to determine why kids smoke, health professionals are continually challenged to find ways to prevent them from taking that first drag off of a cigarette or dip in a can of chewing tobacco.

Given its addictive properties and significant health implications, it’s obvious that the best way to stop smoking is to not start in the first place. Most long-time smokers would agree. When polled, nearly 80 percent of adult smokers state that they wish they had never started smoking and would sincerely like to quit. When you consider this overwhelmingly high percentage, it’s stunning just how many of these remorseful smokers produce teen and even pre-teen children who smoke. Beyond shaking our heads at the irony of this situation, we wonder why some parents don’t (or won’t) take a firmer stand when it comes to their kids and tobacco use.

The hard fought victory against tobacco producers had an early payoff as the number of first-time adolescent smokers showed a steady decline between 1997 and 2003. Unfortunately, the significant progress that was made appears to be slowly eroding as an estimated 4,000 young Americans age 12-17 will light their first cigarette today.

Clearly, parents who smoke need to take a more active role to keep their kids from trying tobacco. Talking to teens about smoking, especially if you’re a smoker, can be difficult, but that’s no reason to avoid the topic.

Targeting kids through the school system is a good approach. Targeting their parents who smoke at home and convincing them to join the fight against teen smoking may be even more effective. Parents who quit — with all the difficulty that involves — provide their kids with a great reason to never start.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Opinion

toon
Editorial cartoons for Monday, Feb. 26

A sketchy look at the news of the day.… Continue reading

FILE - In this Aug. 21, 2015 file photo, a tanker airplane drops fire retardant on a wildfire burning near Twisp, Wash. Three firefighters were killed battling the blaze. The story was a top Washington state news item in 2015. Public Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz has proposed a plan to strengthen the ways that Washington can prevent and respond to wildfires. Franz released the 10-year plan last week as part of her $55 million budget request to the Legislature to improve the state's firefighting abilities (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)
Editorial: Wildfire threat calls for restoring full funding

Lawmakers should restore funding for fighting wildfires and call on one furry firefighter in particular.

Comment: Federal cuts to wildfire crews may hit at worst time

Conditions may increase the threat of wildfires just as the U.S. Forest Service is bracing for budget cuts.

Comment: Founders empowered Congree to support accurate news

The Post Office Act of 1790’s intent was to spread reliable information. The same goes for the media of the day.

Comment: Charity scandal shows Providence ignoring its mission

Ordered to forgive $157 million it charged the poor, the hospital system needs better oversight of officials.

Comment: Presidential primary launches state’s election season

With ballots in the mail, here’s what to know and how to prepare for making your choice for U.S. president.

A leasing sign in visible outside of A’cappella Apartment Homes on Wednesday, March 1, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Editorial: Cap on rent can keep more people in their homes

The legislation balances affordability with the need to encourage growth in the stock of housing.

Jaime Benedict, who works as a substitute teacher, waves to drivers on the corner of Mukilteo Speedway and Harbor Pointe Boulevard while holding a sign in support of the $240 million capital bond proposal for Mukilteo School District on Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020 in Mukilteo, Wash. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Editorial: Bar set unfairly high for passage of school bonds

Requiring 60 percent approval denies too many students the schools and facilities they deserve.

Flowers and a photo of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny are placed near the Russian consulate in Frankfurt, Germany, Saturday, Feb. 17, 2024. Navalny, who crusaded against official corruption and staged massive anti-Kremlin protests as President Vladimir Putin's fiercest foe, died Friday in the Arctic penal colony where he was serving a 19-year sentence, Russia's prison agency said. He was 47. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)
Comment: Navalny’s death only deepens resolve of Putin’s foes

Even in losing elections, Navalny and others have shown that opposition to Putin is effective.

Women’s health care supporters have chance to flip Congress seat

When Roe v. Wade was overturned it simply opened the floodgates to… Continue reading

Comment: Wildfire problem is matter of fuel load, not climate

By limiting the harvest of timber in the state we allowed the forests’ fuel load to grow; and then burn.

toon
Editorial cartoons for Sunday, Feb. 25

A sketchy look at the news of the day.… Continue reading

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.