Teenagers and Smoking Risks

By Yudi Rodriguez
     “I started smoking when I was 13 years old, influenced by friends,” Jeremy said.
     According with Mr. Porac, a health teacher at Blair, every year the amount of teenage smokers is increasing. Teenagers between the ages of 13 to 18 are about 50% of the population of smokers and their number is increasing instead of going down.
     “I started smoking a day that I had a fight with my parents and I went out with my friends. They offered me cigarettes and I accepted,” Maria said. “I do it just to feel relaxed and I can stop it anytime that I want.”
     Even though this is how Maria thinks, Mr. Porac believes differently. “There is research saying that when a person starts smoking they never quit.”
     Mr. Porac also said that is unfortunate about teenagers who continue smoking especially with the high risks that are out there that are associated with smoking. “But no matter how many health problems are associated with smoking, teenagers staill start smoking,” Mr. Porac said.
     Mr. Porac added that the use of the tobacco can attract teenagers to use other drugs. “When they start smoking they ‘catch a buzz’ from smoking.” But maybe they will get tired of the “buzz” from smoking and try to do other drugs. This is how some people become more addicted to other drugs. “But not all smokers experiment with drugs,” Mr. Porac said.
     Jeremy, who started smoking as a teenager is sorry that he did. “Now I wish I wouldn’t have ever started smoking,” he said, “because now I think about everything I could have attained if I never started smoking.”
     How is the percent of teenage smokers in this country different from other countries?
Some people think that people from certain countries are more likely to smoke because people are not aware of the health problems there. Quyen Nguyen, a senior from Vietnam said that “in Viet Nam about 50% of males are smokers.”
     “Maybe the reason why the percent of smokers is high in some countries because the government doesn’t spend money on campaigns to let people know the risks about smoke as they do here in the United States,” Mr. Porac said. In the U.S., the government spends millions of dollars each year letting people know about the effects that smoking has in your body. Many countries do not have money to do that,” Mr. Porac said.


© Copyright Silver International Newspaper, Montgomery Blair H.S. 2003 (This page was created by Yudi Rodriguez and Julmira Ie)