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Light-up time leaves some Italians fuming
By Suzanne Bush
SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMESJanuary 19, 2004CAPENA, Italy - Yesterday was light-up time in Capena, a medieval town where everybody smokes on St. Anthony's Day. Nobody remembers why, but nearly everybody does it - even children as young as 2 years old.
For years, the event has gone unnoticed by public-health advocates, who just this month succeeded in getting the Italian government to order bars and restaurants to ban smoking or to allow it only in well-ventilated smoking areas.
nbsp; Hundreds gathered under gray skies to light cigarettes from the trunk of an olive tree set ablaze in the town square.
One mother, who gave her name only as Rosalba, said she has been participating in the festival for 11 years and has taken photos of her children posing with cigarettes since they were 1. Her eldest, Giulia, is 9.
"They don't smoke properly," Rosalba said, chuckling. "Then again, Giulia did just try inhaling and started choking. ... It's a lovely thing. I'm not worried about them taking up smoking. It's only for one day, and they know it's bad for them."
Rosalba's friend, Katia, encouraged her son, Augustino, to take his first puff, but the 2-year-old seemed unenthusiastic.
Although the youngest children were accompanied by parents, many older children smoked all day without supervision.
"I like smoking," said 10-year-old Tancredi. "I help out with Mass, then I come here, and my parents think it's OK because it's only one day a year."
The festival of St. Anthony usually is celebrated across Italy with the traditional blessing of animals to bring prosperity in the year ahead. Capena's unusual custom began centuries ago with the smoking of rosemary.
Some remain faithful to that habit, but the majority now opt for cigarettes instead.
The tradition is awkward for Mayor Riccardo Benigni, who also is the town doctor.
"It's not a good thing. This I can say as a doctor and a nonsmoker. It's not that I like this new tradition. Of course, it's not a good example for anyone, but the origins were completely different."
Mr. Benigni says he has tried to discourage children from taking part and, for the first time this year, there was a sign suggesting parents give their children sweets instead. But only a few of the smaller children chose candy cigarettes over the coffin nails.
Raffaele Luise of the Italian Cancer League was appalled by the practice.
"I'm convinced that when children associate the souvenir of their first cigarette with having fun in a happy situation with the whole village and all their mates, these memories can lead a kid to repeat that behavior."
Most Italian adults seem oblivious to the effects of smoking on their children. Despite a 30-year-old ban, it's not unusual to see Italians smoking in schools and hospitals.
Copyright © 2004 News World Communications, Inc.
Thanks to Jill for bringing this story to our attention
Middle schoolers see:
This is your brain on nicotine By Bill Lindelof -- Bee Staff Writer
Published 2:15 a.m. PST Tuesday, March 2, 2004
For about 45 minutes, tobacco industry whistle-blower Victor DeNoble on Monday held his audience in rapt attention.
Three hundred or so eighth-graders crowded onto bleachers to hear a story of how DeNoble helped develop a "safer" cigarette.
Quietly and politely, the Rio Linda Junior High School students listened to the research scientist.
Then he brought out the monkey brain.
And after that a human brain - to a decidedly mixed reaction.
Small screams of horror erupted as DeNoble shook solution from the dripping brain of a cadaver. One boy stood and thrust his fist into the air. Some girls hid their faces. Others leaned forward to get a better look.
"It was gross," said 13-year-old Temre Barrett.
DeNoble is presenting his talk, "Inside the Dark Side," at 25 assemblies in 13 schools throughout the Sacramento area this week and next.
He used the props because they were examples of how nicotine had altered the brains. The monkey brain came from a nicotine-addicted lab monkey and the human brain from a longtime smoker.
"Nicotine goes from your lungs, to your heart, to your brain in seven seconds," he told the students.
His appearance was sponsored by Kaiser Permanente. The medical group's "Don't Buy the Lie" anti-smoking campaign dovetails with DeNoble's life story as a key witness in government hearings into the tobacco industry.
DeNoble, a former research scientist for Philip Morris, testified before Congress in 1994. His testimony was part of the evidence that led to a multibillion-dollar settlement.
DeNoble, an experimental psychologist, and his colleague worked in a secret laboratory in Virginia from 1980 to 1984. They experimented on rats to find out how nicotine affected the brain.
Their work led to a chemical that had the same effect as nicotine on the brain without causing heart problems.
But the company shut down the lab. DeNoble and his colleague were fired, he said, and he was prevented from releasing any information because he had signed a confidentiality agreement.
DeNoble said the tobacco company knew nicotine was addictive and that it was his job to find a way to keep smokers addicted but without heart problems.
After decades of denying that nicotine was addictive, Philip Morris didn't want to expose itself to lawsuits, he said.
The day he was fired, DeNoble took with him the nicotine research documents. However, most of those documents later would be stolen.
His wife, however, had retained some of the documents - which he later leaked to the FBI. DeNoble was released from his secrecy agreement with tobacco companies to testify before Congress in 1994.
He also testified before the Food and Drug Administration in 1995 and 1996 and former Vice President Al Gore's Tobacco Settlement Committee in 1997.
DeNoble is a "strong kick-off for the 'Don't Buy the Lie' anti-tobacco program," said Cathy Edwards, a Kaiser Permanente health educator.
The free program includes an anti-smoking billboard-design contest and materials used in more than 50 Sacramento and Placer county middle schools.
Diana Elmer, the Grant district's substance abuse prevention specialist, said there is a great need at the middle school level for more tobacco use prevention.
DeNoble tells his story without the usual "just say no" admonition. He ends with the words "take personal responsibility for your actions" and "please make good decisions."
His delivery is devoid of browbeating. Dr. Rick Baker, chief of Kaiser's health education, has seen DeNoble speak several times.
"What I like about his talks - besides the story about the cigarettes and the "don't buy the lie" message - is that he tries to tell students how to make the right decision," Baker said. "He doesn't tell them what the right decision is. He doesn't tell them, 'Don't smoke.' They can make a decision based on the facts he presents."
Eighth-grader Barrett also thought "it was pretty cool" that DeNoble let her decide that she will never smoke a cigarette.
"Mostly when people talk to us about that stuff, they lecture us and say, 'Don't smoke, don't smoke,' " she said. "I don't think I would even try it. It's pretty nasty."
Link to story:Copyright © The Sacramento BeeAbout the Writer
The Bee's Bill Lindelof can be reached at (916) 321-1079 or [url=mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]email@example.com[/url].
MUNCIE - Former Philip Morris researcher Victor DeNoble did more than tell Muncie and Delaware County middle school students about the dangers of smoking.
On Friday, he showed them.
DeNoble spoke to students at Delta, Wilson and Daleville middle schools about the dangerous effects of nicotine on the body, using facts from his research as a scientist to get his point across.
"For nicotine to go from the lung to the heart to the brain, it takes less than seven seconds," DeNoble said to the students.
He told the kids about his work in the early 1980s as a researcher for the nation's largest cigarette manufacturer, describing tests he performed on rats and monkeys that proved nicotine was an addictive drug that could alter the brain.
Talking about his test monkey, Sarah, DeNoble said he tested brain cells from deep within her brain following her death to find that nicotine had chemically altered her brain cells.
"Wanna see it?" he asked the crowd as he pulled the monkey's brain from a container.
The move was met by a "whoa" that echoed across the auditorium as students scrambled to get a closer look.
DeNoble said he told executives numerous times about his experiments before he was fired for his controversial research in 1984.
A contract he signed with the company prevented him from testifying about his findings until 1994, when seven of the top tobacco industry executives testified before Congress about the addictive drug that led to a $710 billion lawsuit against Philip Morris.
He finished his talk by telling students they were still young enough and smart enough not to start smoking.
"You have to accept the responsibility of making that choice and of who you want to be," he said.
Copyright 2004 The Star Press
|From: AnitaMCK (Original Message)||Sent: 8/23/2004 7:57 AM|
| I saw two of my nieces yesterday, they have never seen me a nonsmoker, since I relapsed 22 years ago before my latest quit. I got very upset when one admitted to taking a puff here and there, and the other one, she's a never smoker, but she was upset that all of her friends have started smoking. |
The tobacco industry is losing customers by so many smokers dying, and by us ex-smokers finally quitting. It is so disturbing to hear about all these teenagers and early 20s smoking. I told them to tell their friends on how it had me in prison for 8 years, then 6 months of freedom before a relapse and another 22 1/2 years. I hope they'll listen.
AnitaMCK - Free and Healing for One Month, Fifteen Days, 10 Hours and 31 Minutes, while extending my life expectancy 2 Days and 8 Hours, by avoiding the use of 682 nicotine delivery devices that would have cost me $136.57.
The U.S. Government is now in the process of trying a case against the tobacco industry. Although debating the merits of either sides arguments is contrary to Our Courtesies the trial itself will generate a wealth of factual information.
The complaint filed by the Department of Justice outlined a number of factual allegations associated with youth dependency that would benefit youth around the world to read, understand and appreciate.
From childhood dreams of experiencing the adventures of life on the range as a cowboy to dreams of traveling to distant lands such as Egypt and riding a camel, the cowboy and camel are bait that if swollowed will bite for a lifetime.
Marketing images of pretty girls and handsome guys, fun, big smiles, and groups getting together to share great times, it's all bait inviting you and your friends to quickly become addicted to one of the most captivating chemicals on earth. In truth, addiction to smoking nicotine will rob you of your complexion, your sweet breath, your lung capacity and endurance to exercise vigerously and enjoy life, your freedom, and a roughly a 50% chance of losing more than 5,000 days of life.
Below are the facts that the U.S. Department of Justice is today attempting to prove in open court. The numbers are references to each factual allegation in its complaint.
The United States of America vs. the U.S. Tobacco IndustryComplaint - Filed: February 28, 2001G. Targeting the Youth Market92. For most of this century, it has been illegal to sell cigarettes to children in most states. Currently, it is illegal to sell cigarettes to children under the age of 18 in all states.
93. Defendants used the Tobacco Institute to shield the Cigarette Companies' advertising to minors. In 1964, defendants publicized a voluntary "cigarette advertising code" that had been agreed to by all the major cigarette manufacturers. The code prohibited advertising directed at young people or the use of celebrities or sports figures in advertisements for cigarettes. Over the next thirty years, defendants, primarily through publications of the Tobacco Institute and in congressional testimony, reiterated their pledge to avoid advertising directed at young people, while at the same time individual companies were aggressively marketing cigarettes to young people through advertising.
94. Despite the illegality of sales to children, and despite denying that they do so, the Cigarette Companies have engaged in a campaign to market cigarettes to children. The Cigarette Companies have long known that recruiting new smokers when they are teenagers ensures a stream of profits well into the future because these new smokers will become addicted and continue to smoke for many years, and the young smokers are "replacements" for older smokers who either reduce or cease smoking or die.
95. Recognizing the profits to be had from this illegal market, the Cigarette Companies researched how to target their marketing at children and actively marketed cigarettes to children. As a result of this research -- including research conducted in the 1950's into the smoking habits of 12-year-olds -- defendants have long known that young people tend to begin smoking for reasons unrelated to the presence of nicotine in cigarette smoke, but then become confirmed, long-term smokers because they become addicted to nicotine. Defendants are further aware that although beginning smokers realize that there are some health risks associated with long-term smoking, beginning smokers almost universally fail to appreciate the addictive nature of cigarette smoking, and therefore fail to appreciate the risk that, by engaging in smoking while they are adolescents, they will become long-term smokers because of the development of an addiction to nicotine. Moreover, the earlier a person begins to smoke, the more likely it is that he or she will develop a smoking related disease.
96. The Cigarette Companies have aggressively targeted their advertising campaigns to children. Cigarette Companies' advertising glamorizes smoking and its content is intended to entice young people to smoke, for example, as a rite of passage into adulthood or as a status symbol. Among the techniques used by the Cigarette Companies to attract underage smokers were advertising in stores near high schools, promoting brands heavily during spring and summer breaks, giving cigarettes away at places where young people are likely to be present in large numbers, paying motion picture producers for product placement in motion pictures designed to attract large youth audiences, placing advertisements in magazines commonly read by teenagers, and sponsoring sporting events and other activities likely to appeal to teenagers.
97. Dining the 1970's and 1980's, Reynolds' substantial market research indicated that Philip Morris, and particularly its Marlboro brand, was dominating the youth market. Reynolds recognized that, in order to maintain its profits over the long term, it was critically important to attract its own cadre of teen-age smokers. Internal Reynolds documents specifically cited the need to recruit youths as "replacement smokers." Thus, Reynolds developed the Joe Camel campaign - based on a cartoon character - to appeal to the youngest potential smokers. In 1988, Reynolds began a massive dissemination of products such as matchbooks, signs, clothing, mugs and drink can holders advertising Camel cigarettes. The advertising was effective in attracting adolescents and, as a result of the campaign, the number of teenage smokers who smoked Camel cigarettes rose dramatically.
98. Despite the overwhelming evidence that they have deliberately sought to target young people for the sale of cigarettes, defendants have denied such activities in false and misleading communications to the public, to legislative and regulatory bodies, and in judicial proceedings. For example, in 1981, Brown & Williamson denied that it geared its advertising to young people following criticism in a press report. Others have followed suit: Reynolds ran a series of advertisements in 1984 claiming that "We don't advertise to children."
99. To avoid full disclosure of its practices regarding Joe Camel, in 1991, while the Federal Trade Commission was investigating Reynolds' practices of advertising and marketing to children, Reynolds instructed its advertising agency to destroy documents in the advertising agency's possession related to the Joe Camel campaign.
100. The Cigarette Companies have long maintained that their expenditures on advertising and promotion - more than $68 billion between 1954 and 1997-was directed solely at persuading current smokers to switch brands, not to attracting new smokers and not to attract children. These statements were false and misleading, and were intended to ensure that they could continue to entice young people to smoke and become addicted by defeating potential efforts by parents and governmental entities to stop such marketing efforts.
101. In July 1969, the Chairman of the Tobacco Institute, Joseph F. Cullman, III, testified before a Senate Commerce subcommittee: "It is the intention of the cigarette manufacturers to avoid advertising directed to young persons... to avoid advertising which represents that cigarette smoking is essential to social prominence, success, or sexual attraction; and to refrain from depicting smokers engaged in sports or other activities requiring stamina or conditioning beyond those required in normal recreation."
102. In 1983, the Tobacco Institute published a pamphlet entitled "Voluntary Initiatives of a Responsible Industiy." The pamphlet noted that "in 1964, the industry adopted a cigarette advertising code prohibiting advertising, marketing and sampling directed at young people." The pamphlet made the claim that "all companies continue to observe the principles of this code."
103. The Cigarette Companies actively targeted their marketing to children with full knowledge that sales to children were illegal, that children would not appreciate the dangers of the product or its addictiveness, that most of the children who began to smoke would become addicted, and that a significant percentage would develop smoking-related diseases or suffer premature death as a result. They denied doing so with full knowledge that such denials were false and misleading.
U.S. Department of Justice Source Link:
|From: Joel||Sent: 4/21/2004 8:36 AM|
| Every month I do a single session seminar at a local health department which is set up for kids who are caught smoking and sentenced by the local court system. More often than not the kids who are sentenced in come to the program seeing it as a punishment and what will likely be a waste of time--another effort by another adult trying to infringe on their freedom of choice to smoke. While this may be the attitude of most of the kids, there are a few who leave the session recognizing that the session was valuable and are in fact grateful that they had the chance to learn about smoking and quitting. |
Yesterday's session had two kids sentenced to the program--a fourteen year old boy and a fourteen year old girl. The girl came in with the same attitude as most. She wasn't ever going to be addicted because she doesn't smoke much and besides, she didn't see cigarettes as being that dangerous anyway. I suspect by the time she left she may have at least recognized the dangers really posed by smoking, although I couldn't tell if she really understood or believed the addictive power of nicotine.
The boy was another story. He already understood the addiction--better than most his age. The reason he understood it is because he was already smoking over two packs per day and has tried to quit countless times. He was happy he was sentenced to the program and said he would have come in even if he was not forced to if he had known it existed as an option.
I have high hopes for this boy--you could already see that smoking was physically limiting his endurance and was controlling him in numerous ways. It is tragic enough when you see adults under this kind of grip but to see a fourteen year old who cannot really meet the physical and social demands of adolescence because of smoking is indeed a sad thing to witness.
We also had six adults come to the session. Two had quit within the last few weeks and four others were coming in to learn how to quit now. I really didn't have as much time as I would have liked to deal with the adult quitting issues and hope that they find their way here to Freedom to read and learn materials that I could not get covered.
Bill should get a kick out of this. One of the men who had quit over two weeks ago came in with a printed out version of our Never Take Another Puff pdf book. He brought it in so that I could autograph it. This was a first time request--I found it very entertaining.
I am going to kick up a few posts today addressing things that I could not get covered yesterday in the event any of the participants come here to read. The bottom line message I would give to them is the same message that I give to all who read here too, that quitting smoking is fully within any person's capability and the way to stay free once you have quit is simply to stick to the commitment you made the day you decided to never take another puff!
A systematic review of school-based smoking prevention trials with long-term follow-up.
Journal of Adolescent Health. 2005 March;36(3):pages 162-169
Wiehe SE, Garrison MM, Christakis DA, Ebel BE, Rivara FP.
Child Health Services Research, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, IN, USA. [url=mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]email@example.com[/url]
BACKGROUND: Several systematic reviews of school-based smoking prevention trials have shown short-term decreases in smoking prevalence but have not examined long-term follow-up evaluation. The purpose of this study was to conduct a systematic review of rigorously evaluated interventions for school-based smoking prevention with long- term follow-up data.
METHODS: We searched online bibliographic databases and reference lists from review articles and selected studies. We included all school-based, randomized, controlled trials of smoking prevention with follow-up evaluation to age 18 or 12th grade and at least 1 year after intervention ended, and that had smoking prevalence as a primary outcome. The primary outcome was current smoking prevalence (defined as at least 1 cigarette in the past month).
RESULTS: The abstracts or full-text articles of 177 relevant studies were examined, of which 8 met the selection criteria. The 8 articles included studies differing in intervention intensity, presence of booster sessions, follow-up periods, and attrition rates. Only one study showed decreased smoking prevalence in the intervention group.
CONCLUSIONS: Few studies have evaluated the long-term impact of school-based smoking prevention programs rigorously. Among the 8 programs that have follow-up data to age 18 or 12th grade, we found little to no evidence of long-term effectiveness.
| Written by Erica in message #8 : |
|This is a very interesting topic. I am 22 now and I started smoking when I was 14 years old, a freshman in high school. |
Now this was not a situation where I took as cigarette as an experiment thinking it'd be just that once or only once in a while. I had the full, deliberate intention of becoming a full-fledged smoker. I started smoking with the full intention of becoming addicted to cigarettes.
Want to hear something really disturbing? I was thrilled to the bone the first time I had a physical cigarette craving. (We called them "nic-fits".) I remember: I was sitting in class, and I felt a peculiar tickle in my throat and an indescribably subtle sort of clamping feeling in my brain. What's that feeling? Suddenly I realized that smoking a cigarette would make that feeling go away. Hooray! I was a real smoker! I was addicted!
It just absolutely turns my stomach to write about this now. I hadn't thought about that moment in years; maybe not since it happened. Why did I think in this way? What kind of incredibly screwed-up moral landscape must I have had to not only deliberately become a drug addict but to feel genuinely happy when they addiction really started taking hold?
It's a good question and I think that to understand the answer it's important to think back to our teenaged years. Experiences vary widely; however, most people's adolescence is characterized by sullenness, recalcitrance, rapidly shifting self-images, and an intense desire to win favor with one's peers and most pertinently to thwart adult authority figures. I do not think that there is anything inherently bad about this state of mind--sure it's tough and in the end very self-defeating, but it's a necessary step in the blossoming into sentience (sp?) for most people.
I say that the desire to flout authority is "most pertinent" for a reason: I think that this is responsible for a lot of kids starting smoking. I know it was a major, major factor in my personal decision.
I was a very sullen, depressed teen girl, cursed with a prohibitively large vocabulary and very few social skills. I was angry. I felt cheated. By whom, and out of what? Who knows. But I had the vague yet firmly held conviction that my parents and especially the teachers and administrators at my school were deeply responsible for this dissatisfaction. This is not totally unreasonable; the faculty at my school were in fact largely ignorant and reprehensibly tyrannical and seemed to enjoy making things difficult for teens. So what could I do? The opposite of whatever they wanted me to do, that's what!!!! "Don't drink. Don't smoke. Don't do drugs." You can bet that I did all of these things as much as I could. There were other reasons--it was fun, it gave me sort of a common ground with a lot of my peers--but I remember vividly feeling that the best part of it all was being a "bad kid".
It's important to understand the dynamics of this sort of thing, particularly if you're going to try and talk to teenagers about substance use and abuse. Most health educators make the tremendous mistake of trying to convince kids that it's "not cool" to do these things. "It's not cool. It won't make you popular. It won't make you feel good." This is a disastrous tack to take. What these people need to understand is that in the eyes of many if not most teens, whatever they endorse, in almost any category, will be immediately branded as dorky and undesirable. That's just how it works. Besides, telling people that these things will not make them feel good is a bald-faced lie. They most certainly will, at first. I loved smoking when I was young. So having told one obvious lie, everything else that the educator has said also becomes suspect--including legitimate information about how awful these things are.
So the upshot of this long-winded diatribe is that I think that if one wants to make a difference with teens, and actually convince a large number of them that they should not start smoking cigarettes, one must do so with straight unadulterated information. No opinions about what is or is not cool or fun. No "shoulds" and "shouldn'ts". Just: smoking makes you die. Horribly and painfully. And in the meantime it makes you a pathetic addict with an incredibly low quality of life. Pictures like the ones on whyquit.com. I am certain that this is the approach that Joel takes when he talks to high-schoolers and that it is infinitely more successful than the transparent propaganda that I was offered in high school.
I don't blame anyone for guiding me towards the decision to smoke. That was a decision that I and I alone made. Yet I feel that I might not have felt this perverse desire to start had not the adults around me been so incredibly clueless about how to educate teens in such a way that they will actually listen.
Teenagers aren't stupid but they are naive and misguided. It's a shame that so many of them turn to smoking as a way to express all the bitterness and fresh young cynicism that they feel during this confusing and painful time of emotional and social upheaval. I hope greatly that this trend is dealt with; I was foresighted enough to quit but a lot of those kids who started smoking when I did are still smoking and will smoke until it kills them. Thoughtfulness and a little strategic psychology on the part of educators goes a long, long way. Like I said I'll bet Joel does a great job with these teens.
'One puff' link to future smokingBBC News - May 24, 2006
Children who try just one cigarette are twice as likely to take up smoking as those who have never tried it, a study funded by Cancer Research UK suggests.
Last week the U.S. CDC announced that U.S. youth smoking rates actually showed a slight increase this past year. Although many want to attribute the amazing decline of Canadian youth smoking rates to host of influences, a major difference between the two nations is that there is no U.S. youth cigarette pack addiction warning label. As Joel points out in this piece, U.S. youth are still not getting the truth!
CANADA Teen smoking rates plunge to single digits, lowest level ever: StatsCan Tue Jun 13, 07:59 AM EST
By Helen Branswell
OTTAWA (CP) - Neither Andrea Bever, 17, nor Rebecca Chapman, 16 - two typical Toronto teens - has ever owned a pack of cigarettes. Sure, they have smoked the odd one. But neither has acquired a taste for the demon weed - and they plan to keep things that way.
"It just didn't seem like something that was worth it - it seemed pretty pointless," says Bever of her decision, fuelled by concern over smoking's health consequences.
It would appear Chapman and Bever are part of a surging trend - teenagers side-stepping the mistakes of previous generations and turning their backs on tobacco.
New figures released Tuesday by Statistics Canada show only eight per cent of teens report they smoked in 2005, down from 10 per cent in 2003 and 14 per cent in 2000-01.
"This is the first time that it's been in single digits, but there has been a steady decline since the 1980s," Statistics Canada analyst Jason Gilmore said Tuesday.
The data were contained in the Canadian Community Health Survey, a major poll aimed at assessing the health of Canadians. The survey is conducted every two years.
It is based on the responses of about 130,000 Canadians aged 12 and over from every province and territory in the country. First Nations people living on reserves and members of the RCMP and the Armed Forces are not included in the survey.
The 2005 survey showed that 82 per cent of teens aged 12-17 reported they had never smoked cigarettes, up from 73 per cent in 2000-01.
The figures on teen smoking have been changing fast. An Ontario survey that is conducted every two years pegged the rate of teenagers in that province who smoked at 28 per cent in 1999, just six years before the latest Canadian Community Health Survey was conducted.
Social marketing consultant Francois Lagarde calls the sea-change in attitudes towards smoking in Canada "a huge success" built on decades of interventions, public policies and the growing science around the health risks of tobacco.
"As someone said, 40 years ago a father would give a smoke to a teenager to say 'Now you're a man.' This is the last thing a father would think today," says Lagarde, who also teaches social marketing at the University of Montreal.
"But that was happening one or two generations ago. It's pretty amazing."
The sharp declines in teen smoking bode well for the future health of today's teenagers, suggesting as adults they may be at much lower risk than previous generations of developing a myriad of smoking-related diseases, including lung cancer, heart disease, emphysema and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Like Bever, many teens cite health consequences as a major reason why they are forsaking smoking, says Edward Adlaf, director of the Ontario Student Drug Use Survey.
Data from the Ontario survey show "quite strongly . . . that we have more and more students who perceive great risk in smoking," says Adlaf, a research scientist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, which runs the Ontario survey.
"So there's been a hardening of negative attitudes and beliefs about smoking."
Rob Cunningham, a senior policy analyst with the Canadian Cancer Society, credits a basket of public policy measures that have turned smoking from a mainstream habit to almost a fringe activity. Things like high taxes on cigarettes. Large and graphic health warnings on cigarette packs. Restrictions on where people can smoke and curbs on tobacco advertising.
"It is a success story. We've seen very substantial declines in smoking by adults and by kids," Cunningham says.
"But we have to fight every inch of the way. And we have an enormous amount of work that remains to be done."
The message is clearly getting through to kids like Chapman and Bever.
"Well a) it's not good for you. It's horrible on your health. And then b) it's not something I want to like keep doing and then have to go to the trouble of trying to quit," Chapman says matter-of-factly.
"And obviously my parents wouldn't be happy."
Bever, who has a blinding smile, has her own list of smoking turn-offs.
"It's mainly the cancer thing. And the bad breath as well. Yellow teeth - no one wants that."
Chapman concurs: "Girls don't really like kissing boys who've just been smoking. It's not really a turn on."
After decades of trying, it would appear that something may have taken the "cool" out of teen smoking.
"Certainly that may well be," Adlaf admits.
"Not for all. There will still be some experimentation. I think the real key is in ensuring adolescents don't become regular smokers."
That's because the teen years have typically been the time when people are most vulnerable to the marketing allure of smoking - a vulnerability the tobacco industry deliberately exploited in its drive to safeguard profits by hooking replacements for older smokers who quit or die, industry documents that were made public in the late 1990s showed.
"Hook 'em young, hook 'em for life," is the industry's approach to children, former Big Tobacco executive Dr. Jeffrey Wigand - an industry whistleblower whose case was documented in the movie The Insider - testified in public hearings on the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control at the World Health Organization.
The cancer society's Cunningham agrees.
"Very few people begin smoking as adults. The overwhelming majority of smokers begin as teenagers and preteens," he says.
But getting numbers below the current eight per cent may be challenging. Lagarde notes that smoking does appeal to a core - albeit shrinking - of rebellious teens.
"Social norms is not a one-size-fits-all thing," he says.
"Among teenagers there's always a significant number of anti-conformists. And we all went through this at one point in our lives. So we have to realize that if everybody else thinks it's not a good idea, that's enough for a number of them to think that it is."
Top five health regions in Canada with the highest percentage of smokers, according to the Canadian Community Health Survey released Tuesday by Statistics Canada:
Mamawetan-Keewatin-Athabasca (northern Saskatchewan): 35.3
Burntwood-Churchill (northern Manitoba): 35.3
Prince Albert Parkland (Saskatchewan): 31.5
Northern Lights (northern Albera): 30.3
Porcupine (northern Ontario): 30.2
National average: 21.7
Top five health regions in Canada with the lowest percentage of smokers, according to the Canadian Community Health Survey released Tuesday by Statistics Canada:
Richmond (B.C.): 12.6
Fraser North (B.C.): 14.4
North Shore-Coast Garibaldi (B.C.): 15.2
Assiniboine (Manitoba): 15.7
South Vancouver Island (B.C.): 15.9
National average: 21.7
Percentage of the non-smoking population aged 12 and over who are regularly exposed to second-hand smoke in public places, as reported in the Canadian Community Health Survey released Tuesday by Statistics Canada:
Newfoundland and Labrador: 10.1
Nova Scotia: 9.2
New Brunswick: 6.8
British Columbia: 10.5
Percentage of the population aged 12 and over who are smokers, as reported in the Canadian Community Health Survey released Tuesday by Statistics Canada:
Newfoundland and Labrador: 23.1
Nova Scotia: 22.6
New Brunswick: 22.5
British Columbia: 17.8
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