Teen Smoking Increases


Although the number of heavy smoking teenagers has declined significantly over the years, the number of teens who smoke casually, (defined as 1 to 5 cigarettes per day), has skyrocketed.  According to a study to be published in the September issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 79.4 percent of U.S. teens are “occasional” smokers.  This shocks me as the parent of 3 children from 16 to 24; I would have said the rate was much lower than that.  I hear kids saying all the time how stupid smoking is.  Maybe what kids say and what kids do is different, but smoking is a hard thing to hide.  Most non-smokers can tell from 10 feet away if someone has smoked a cigarette in the past 24 hours.  Admittedly it is harder with young smokers to detect just from the way they look as their bodies are resilient at that age and hide it better than the adult smoker.  But if they have had a cigarette anytime in the past day or so, and you are within a few feet of them, don’t you think you would be able to tell from the smell?

Still the study supposedly surveyed enough teens to claim a very high degree of accuracy.  I can’t imagine what these kids are thinking.  I mean a smoker is a smoker regardless of whether they smoke 2 a day or 12.  The thought of so many kids exposing themselves to something as addictive as smoking is sad.  It is also interesting that another study I read recently seemed to show youth these days have a high degree of resistance to the corporate world’s attempts to influence them through advertising.  For some reason big tobacco’s marketing to teenagers has been very successful.  But that may not be surprising since the tobacco companies know that if they don’t get someone to start smoking by 20 or 21, they have lost their chance to gain a new customer.  Personally I have known a few people who seemed to start smoking in their 20’s.  But if you dig down you find out they also smoked a little when they were younger.  If someone gets to 21 without ever having smoked, the chance of them ever starting is almost zero.

And that is the saddest part of this new study.  If it is accurate, 80% of our young people are at risk for serious addiction, health problems, and early death.  Maybe Iceland has the right idea?

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Will Sig
1 Binky

80%?! I have a hard time believing it’s anywhere near that high.
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2 Will

I know. Even now several days of thinking about it later, I can’t believe it is correct.


3 Jan

I too don’t believe that 80% smoke – I wonder how many actually told the truth in the survey. If it was done with other friends then maybe they just wanted to look cool. In Queensland (Australia) they are really cracking down on smoking. It is illegal to smoke within 4 metres of a public building entrance, all clubs, cafes, restaurants and public transport are non-smoking, no smoking in pubs unless it’s the beer garden and not if food is served. You can’t smoke in a car with kids and they have just made our city mall no smoking as well. Awesome! I say that people should be allowed to smoke, so long as they don’t exhale.


4 Tony McGurk

I have notice too that while not as many adults smoke now, I see so many young ones smoking. I always feel like smacking them around the ear & saying “Wake up to yourself stupid” People just have a “It won’t happen to me” mentality about smoking & cancer. Till it happens to them…

I remember a few years back there was an outbreak of cancerfied people suing tobacco companies. What ever happened to taking the responsibility for your own stupid actions?


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