A recent article in Scientific American: Hooked from the First Cigarette discussed new research concerning cigarette addiction. Joseph R. DiFranza of the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester has evidence that symptoms of addiction can occur after only smoking for a few weeks. Even in adolescents who were only smoking 2 cigarettes a week. According to his theory:
“nicotine is addictive not because it produces pleasure but simply because it suppresses craving”.
According to the American Lung Association:
“Cigarette smoking was rare among women in the early 20th century and became prevalent among women after it did among men. In 2005, 20.3 million (18.1 percent) of women smoked in the United States.
Smoking is directly responsible for 90 percent of all lung cancer deaths in America each year. In 1987, lung cancer surpassed breast cancer as the leading cause of cancer deaths among women in the U.S.
Annually, cigarette smoking kills an estimated 178,408 women in the United States.
In 2005, 23.0 percent of high school girls were current smokers, meaning they smoked at least once in the 30 days preceding the survey.
Cigarette smoking during pregnancy can cause serious health problems for both mother and child, such as pregnancy complications, premature birth, low-birth-weight infants, stillbirth and infant death.”
Given how seriously smoking affects women’s health (men’s too!) , how addictive it is and how many teenage girls are smokers – it seems that programs targeted at young girls – before they smoke even one cigarette are needed.
According to tobaccofreekids.org: “only three states – Maine, Delaware and Colorado – currently fund prevention programs at CDC-recommended levels“. The state I live in only “allocates $200,000 for tobacco prevention” even though 21.3% high school students in the state smoke.
It’s really scary that the federal and state governments are not taking teenage smoking more seriously. I don’t know if the teenage prevention programs really work, but we need to put more effort in it and find something that will work.
What do you think? Does your kid’s school have any smoking prevention program? If so, do you think it is very effective? What else should be done?
More information about women and smoking:
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- Smoking Part 2: What should be done?
- Smoking Part 1: Pregnancy and young children
- Smoking and other pregnancy perils