Kids Just Don't Get It!

Marequits Gold1
Joined: 09 Jan 2009, 00:23

24 Sep 2004, 01:30 #21

Great message.

So much has happened in the last week since the death of my mother. My uncle (brother to my long deceased father) called with his condolences. It was the first call I'd received from him in forty-some years - - since my father died (airplane crash). Both he and my father had been medical school grads - Harvard and Yale, and were very competitive with one another.

My uncle really didn't know what to say to me so I emailed him and he wrote a letter back. The letter went on for several pages about the successes in his family - world renouned for this, that, the other, etc., etc. Art. Medicine. Music, you name it.

When one of my sisters and I discussed the letter, we realized that we had been brought up to aspire to nothing. We never even suspected we would work for a living as adults. Not that we aren't good people. Not that we aren't making a difference, but certainly not reaching anything close to our potentials.

What's the point? The point is that the parenting makes so much difference. The life style choices made by the parents pass on to the children. Smoking parents get smoking children. Violent parents yield violent kids. And on and on. Parents need to be aware of the number of generations they are affecting as they make their life style choices. Alcoholism. Smoking. Esteem. Aspirations. Health. Following the rules. Spirituality. And so on.

Like everything else, the word needs to be out there and in faces. It is important.

Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:03

08 Dec 2004, 21:57 #22

Thanks Joel. This kids smoking stuff is so real to me now, everytime I visit my nieces. They do not smoke, but a lot of their friends do now. I was there Thanksgiving, and I had a thankful prayer before dinner that I had finally quit. But one of the friends was there, in her 20s, taking cigarette breaks outside. I was thankful it wasn't me, but sorry for her.

AnitaMCK - Free and Healing for Four Months, Thirty Days, 9 Hours and 58 Minutes, while extending my life expectancy 7 Days and 22 Hours, by avoiding the use of 2286 nicotine delivery devices that would have cost me $460.12.

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

20 Jan 2005, 21:30 #23

I got a call last week that they boy in the story below was still off smoking and was assisting in a project to help other kids his age from ever taking it up. I often leave these court sentenced seminars thinking like I wasted my time. Every now and then though an incident like this makes it seem worth the effort.
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!



Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

20 Mar 2005, 22:04 #24

Sometimes the kids parents don't get it either.

"Thank goodness it's only cigarette smoking!"
Last edited by Joel on 19 Aug 2010, 21:00, edited 1 time in total.

John (Gold)
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

29 Apr 2005, 00:37 #25

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]

BACKGROUND: Several systematic reviews of school-based smoking prevention trials have shown short-termImage 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.

PMID: 15737770

John (Gold)
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

29 Apr 2005, 01:16 #26

Link to a free full-text copy of the above study abstract:

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

06 May 2005, 06:20 #27

From the string Why I don't speak at more sites on how to help people quit smoking.
From: Joel. Sent: 3/14/2003 8:33 AM
While adult groups are notoriously poorly attended, school groups are different. They are students and don't have a choice--they have to attend the program. In a few hours I am lecturing to 600 high school freshman. I have 45 minutes to cover smoking. That is not a whole lot of time.

When I am dealing with kids of this age group, generally fourteen or fifteen I think, I have two target audiences. Those who have not started smoking yet but are at risk of taking it up one day, and those who already smoke.

What I try to emphasize in programs with limited time frame is why kids should not take up smoking. I make it clear that I am not there telling the students not to smoke, but just trying to show the students what the implications and dangers are of smoking. I often have very little time to cover quitting techniques with these groups.

So for students who are looking for help quitting, I refer them to and by default, to Freedom. Kids who don't smoke sometimes have parents who smoke and might be pushing them too to look at the site. So there is a chance that over the next day or two we will be having lots of extra lurkers--many of them quite young.

I often hear people who quit smoking say that they wished somebody had told them when they were kids what they know now, that it might have avoided a lot of trouble in their lives. Well you might have the opportunity to tell a bunch of kids over the next day or two what you know now and you may help some of them avoid the pitfalls you faced because of what you didn't know at their age.

So while posting the next few days, be cognizant who might be reading. I know I feel good when I can prevent kids from facing the kind of life that long-term smokers often face. You might just feel good yourself by knowing you helped some kids today. Your stories and insights just might help influence them to know that to never get hooked on nicotine or to get off now before the damages get significantly worse is as simple now as knowing to never take another puff!

There were a few kids who were getting it today. I did a seminar to a group of about 150 sixth graders today. I did a pretty big push referring them to today, for many of them had parents who were smokers. It is also likely that a number of the students themselves will find their way to and possibly to Freedom. I have done seminars at this one particular school 26 years in a row. There is a pretty good chance that I had the parents of some of these kids in the same seminar when they were sixth graders. So as it says above:

While posting the next few days, be cognizant who might be reading. I know I feel good when I can prevent kids from facing the kind of life that long-term smokers often face. You might just feel good yourself by knowing you helped some kids today. Your stories and insights just might help influence them to know that to never get hooked on nicotine or to get off now before the damages get significantly worse is as simple now as knowing to never take another puff!

Last edited by Joel on 19 Aug 2010, 21:03, edited 1 time in total.

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

27 Aug 2005, 05:19 #28

I think Anita may be looking for this one.

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

02 Dec 2005, 20:45 #29

Here is a group of young people who are trying to help make sure that kids do get it now: College smokers teach teens tobacco truths

Sal GOLD.ffn
Joined: 16 Jan 2003, 08:00

15 Mar 2006, 08:33 #30

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 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.