Teenagers and Smoking Risks
“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
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)