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March 10, 2006

Teens and Smoking

Cathy Arnst

There's a new report out of New York City with some good and bad news on teen smoking. According to the New York Times,

Smoking among New York City teenagers has shown a startling decline over the last four years, with a survey of smoking habits finding that just 11 percent of public high school students now smoke.

The bad news? Smoking rates were highest among white students (29 percent), students on Staten Island (23 percent) and girls (12 percent). Among white girls, 35 percent said they smoked, compared with 24 percent of white boys.

It seems that the steep price of cigarettes--New York City has among the highest cigarette taxes in the nation--keeps low income students from smoking, and blacks and latinos overall have rejected cancer sticks. But high income girls are still smoking with a vengeance--as I notice every time I walk by a tony private school in my neighborhood. It's particularly sad that this trend is tied into body image. I learned in a story on teen smoking I did a few years ago for BusinessWeek that the main reason girls give for smoking is to keep their weight down.

Studies by the University of Michigan's Monitoring the Future project found that 14-year-old girls are twice as likely to try smoking as boys, primarily because of concerns about weight. Numerous surveys have found that some 30% of teenage girls and adult women cite weight control as the main reason they smoke, far greater than any other justification. "The relationship between concerns about weight and smoking is dramatic," says Dr. Margaret R. Rukstalis, a psychiatrist at the University of Pennsylvania, who specializes in addictive behaviors.

Smoking is particularly addictive for young girls--they can get hooked on nicotine after just one cigarette. So talk to your daughters, and sons for that matter, about the dangers of smoking, before they start. Somehow we have to get the message across to our kids that smoking is not cool. Maybe take them to visit a cancer ward?

12:42 PM

Health

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i dont no about getting hooked after just one cigarette, but yeh! it doest getch u fast cuz like a week after i turned 11, my nu guy took me out to celabrate by b-day & we're like cruzing around town & heez smoking & im like can i try one & yeh heeze like GO AHEAD, HERE & he hands me one of hiz marlboros & lights me. Then he starts laughing cuz im just blowing the smoke back out & not inhaling & im like whatz soo funny? Yeh, heeze like YOU CANT GET INTU IT WITHOUT INHALING. So he starts showing me how to inhale so i did what he said & im coughing like crazy so he tells me to slow down & start with small drags. So im duing what he sayz & itz going pretty when all uf a sudden i like well started feeling really sick like i waz guna puke so i put the cig out & told him it wuz awful. He told me that the first cigarettes always like that & so about 15 minutes later after my stomach settled down he gives me another one & tells me to try again & it will go alot better. He was rite cuz thiz time i finished the whole cigarette without caughing or feeling sick. It didnt exactly taste good but it wuz kinduf fun so i lit up another one. Over the next couple uf hours i probablly smoked about 10 cigarettes & each one i smoked tasted better than the one before. Yeh! i noticed later that day after he dropped me off at home i started craving anothr cigarette so i met my best friend down at the store & we like talked sum dude intu buying uz a pack uf marlboro 100's. Yeh! itz crazy cuz i would not hav thought i wuz hooked that easily but az soon az i lit up & took that first drag, it wuz like WOW! that wuz just what i needed & it actually tasted really good & i nu i waz hooked.

That wuz about 6 months ago & yeh im chain smoking about 4 packs of marlborros a day now. Although i have grown to luv cigarettes & i no there probablly not good for me, i would like to quit but lack the will power, but yeh u get hooked really quick so itz alot better if a girl just doesnt light tha first cigarette to begin with

That wuz about 6 months ago

Posted by: melissa at April 4, 2006 07:09 PM

i need help!!!!!!!!! i wont to quit

Posted by: katrina vining at May 5, 2006 02:15 PM


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