While in college, I once asked my professor how he had stopped smoking cigarettes. In his English accent he answered, “Well, when I went to buy cigarettes I would find myself at the shop counter asking for Marl-bor-lo, Marl borrow, Marlbro…I eventually just gave up!” I know my professor was kidding…but I really do wish smoking habits could be so easily dropped. Smoking tobacco is extremely addictive, and starting at a young age can cause detrimental health effects in the future.
I am not illustrating my own opinions about Senator Jennie M Forehand’s smoking bill and whether or not it is a good decision to pass into law. However, I will explain why smoking, especially at a young age, is a serious issue worth discussing. Finding solutions to combat harmful, addictive substances from becoming so widespread should be a priority for all of us.
Patterns of cigarette usage:
- “The earlier a kid first tries smoking, the higher his or her chances of ultimately becoming a regular smoker, and the less likely he or she is to quit.”
- As expressed in the earlier post, an average of 90% of smokers start smoking before the age of 20.
- Though it’s not clear why, the combined addictions of alcohol and cigarettes seem to go hand and hand. Yet the legal age of each substance is different, urging smokers to start drinking underage. One study showed that “roughly 90 percent of people who were severely dependent on alcohol were also dependent on tobacco.” A theory is that alcohol and tobacco somehow interact in the brain to increase dependency on both substances.
- “Cigarette pack health warnings ‘have little impact on teens ‘ “ (However, these are not graphic warnings on cigarette packages, like those used in Australia, Canada, and some other countries. Now there’s an idea…)
- Marlboro, Newport, and Carnel are the most advertised cigarette brands. Over 85% of underage smokers preferred one of these brands, as found in the 1994 Center for Disease Control report.
As if we need anymore reasons…here are more facts on the health effects of smoking:
- “The number of deaths due to lung cancer has increased approximately 4.3 percent between 1999 and 2008 from 152,156-158,656.” It’s the leading cancer killer in the US, causing more deaths than the three most common cancers combined (colon, breast and prostate).
- “Cigarette smoke contains over 4,000 chemicals, including 43 known cancer-causing (carcinogenic) compounds and 400 other toxins.“
- A new study even suggests that e-cigarettes may contain carcinogens similar to regular cigarettes.
Prevention is clearly key… raising the following questions:
How can we prevent young people from smoking? Do you think that the new proposed smoking bill for Maryland is the answer, or is it something else? How can we incentivize young adults from saying “No” to smoking?
We would love to hear your thoughts. Comment below or tweet @WellPowerBlog #SmokingAge.