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Over one in four teens smoke. Over six million of today's children will one day die prematurely because they started smoking as an adolescent, many dying after years of preventable suffering. Many take their first puffs out of curiosity, and thereafter a couple of days a week, thinking that only daily smokers get hooked. Yet, we now know that "for some victims of tobacco, their unfortunate fates may have been cast with their first few cigarettes."(1) Nicotine can be as addictive as cocaine. Most teen smokers regret smoking and want to quit, but can't.  


It's astonishing that anyone would start smoking in a day when science has provided irrefutable evidence that it will significantly diminish our quality of life - a solemn indication  that peer pressure, advertising and ignorance wield almost unconquerable power. Almost.


We can make a difference. Both smoking and non-smoking parents can significantly influence their teens by talking to them openly and giving them the facts. Educators can make a difference by providing the facts using methods proven effective with teens. Communities are discovering the advertising angles that make smoking repugnant to teens. The following articles from authoritative sources give us the tools we need to make a difference.


1 - "Development of symptoms of tobacco dependence in youths," by J R DiFranza1, J A Savageau1, N A Rigotti2, K Fletcher1, J K Ockene1, A D McNeill3, M Coleman1 and C Wood1 , Tobacco Control 2002;11:228-235 © 2002 Tobacco Control . (1- University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA; 2- Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts, USA; 3- University of London, London, UK)



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