September 29th, 2008, 9:10 pm #41


Joined: January 16th, 2003, 8:00 am

December 31st, 2008, 8:21 am #42

In honor of Erica's 5 year anniversary:
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.


Joined: November 11th, 2008, 7:22 pm

November 5th, 2009, 12:59 am #43

Austria has highest percentage
of 15-year-old smokers
By Lisa Chapman - November 4, 2009 - Austrian Times
Austria has the highest percentage of 15-year-old smokers, 25 per cent, in Europe, according to a Vienna doctor.

Manfred Neuberger, the head of the preventive-medicine division at Vienna Medical University, added today (Weds) that the number of Austrian youth who smoked had been steadily increasing since 1997 and that 145,891 Austrians aged 11 to 17 smoked.

Noting the average age at which young people began smoking had fallen to 11, he said: "The younger one begins, the worse the consequences will be."

Neuberger claimed the government had been doing too little to get young people not to smoke. "It is easier to buy cigarettes than groceries," he said, adding the government should use the 60 million Euros in cigarette taxes that young smokers paid annually to pay for a campaign of prevention of smoking.

He called protection of non-smokers in Austria "a health and political time bomb" and said the country was on the level of the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Hungary, Albania and Serbia in that regard.

The doctor cited polls in Styria and Upper Austria that had shown 91 per cent of people who visited nightspots felt harmed by secondary smoke and 60 per cent of them wanted the law on smoking toughened.

Tamas Fazekas from Vienna's St. Anna Children's Hospital called for "an absolute ban on smoking in public areas. We are already finding illnesses in children that previously occurred only in adults." She warned that pregnant women's exposure to secondary smoke could lead to premature births and development of asthma in young children.

She also claimed exposure of children to secondary smoke made it more likely they would start smoking and noted 80 per cent of children of smokers became smokers themselves.

"We need to make it clear to adults that nicotine is not only a poison that harms children but that they also need to set a good example by not smoking," she added.

The doctors' announcements came on the occasion of an event promoting the EU campaign "HELP - For a Smoke-Free Life" in Vienna. The campaign featured more than 300 events in all 27 EU member states today.
Source Link - Copyright 2009 Austrian Times

Thanks to Vienna for bringing this story to our attention!!

As an aside, Professor Neuberger and I served as co-authors on a 2007 paper
entitled, "Critical Review, Nicotine for the Fetus, the Infant and Adolescent"


Joined: November 13th, 2008, 2:04 pm

August 7th, 2012, 4:39 pm #44


Joined: November 11th, 2008, 7:22 pm

June 23rd, 2014, 10:14 am #45

Doctors to vote on cigarette 
sale ban for those born after 2000
The Guardian - Haroon Siddique  Monday 23 June 2014

In 2012, 23% of pupils in England aged 11-15 had tried smoking at least once (picture posed by models). Photograph: Catchlight Visual Services/Alamy

Doctors are to vote on whether to push for a permanent ban on the sale of cigarettes to anyone born after the year 2000 in an attempt to protect the next generation of children from the deadly effects of smoking.

If the motion is passed at the British Medical Association's annual representatives' meeting on Tuesday, the doctors union will lobby the government to implement the policy in the same way it successfully pushed for a ban on lighting up in public places and on smoking in cars carrying children, after votes in 2002 and 2011 respectively.

Tim Crocker-Buque, a specialist registrar in public health medicine who proposed the motion, said the idea was that "the 21st-century generation don't need to suffer the hundreds of millions of deaths that the 20th-century generation did".

"Cigarette smoking is specifically a choice made by children that results in addiction in adulthood, that is extremely difficult to give up. Eighty percent of people who smoke start as teenagers. It's very rare for people to make an informed decision in adulthood. The idea of this proposal is to prevent those children who are not smoking from taking up smoking."

In 2012, 23% of pupils in England aged 11 to 15 had tried smoking at least once, according to official figures, although the proportion has been decreasing since 1996, when it was 46%. Of current smokers or those who smoked regularly at some point in their life, 66% said they started smoking before they were 18. The age at which someone can be legally sold cigarettes rose from 16 to 18 in 2007.

George Butterworth, Cancer Research UK's tobacco policy manager, said steps to tackle the 100,000 lives a year lost to smoking should continue and described the proposal as an interesting idea.

"There are more than 10 million smokers in the UK, and it's just not practical to ban smoking. But we do want to encourage and support smokers to quit, and to do all we can to stop children from starting in the first place."

Similar proposals have been put forward in Singapore and in Tasmania, Australia, where, in 2012, the upper house passed a ban on selling cigarettes to anyone born after 2000 but it has not been passed by the lower house.

Simon Clark, the director of the smokers' group Forest, argued that criminals would simply take over the supply of cigarettes to people who could not buy them legally.

"We already have legislation designed to stop children smoking. Enforce those laws and ban proxy purchasing," he said. "The idea that free-thinking adults could be barred from buying cigarettes because of the year in which they're born is both preposterous and discriminatory. It's arbitrary, unenforceable and completely illiberal."

A spokesman for the Tobacco Manufacturers' Association described the proposal as "a poorly thought through tobacco control measure. The BMA should reject this nonsensical measure and instead focus on measures likely to reduce young people's access to tobacco."

The motion proposed by Crocker-Buque was passed at the BMA's public health conference in February.

Copyright 2014 - The Guardian

Joined: November 11th, 2008, 7:22 pm

March 8th, 2016, 8:11 am #46

California poised to join Hawaii in raising smoking age to 21

Like most of us, a whopping 95% of adult smokers started smoking before age 21. As reviewed in this New York Times Editorial, the newest youth smoking prevention measure sweeping the globe may soon make it illegal for millions of 18-year-old high school students to purchase cigarettes.

Raise the Legal Age for Cigarette Sales to 21

MARCH 5, 2016
California could soon raise the legal age for buying cigarettes and other tobacco products to 21, from 18. That change could help prevent many young people from becoming addicted and reduce premature deaths from lung cancer and other tobacco-related diseases.

The California Assembly last week joined the State Senate in passing a package of bills that would raise the age; regulate electronic cigarettes in the same ways as conventional cigarettes, including restricting where they can be used; and allow local governments to impose taxes on tobacco products.

The bills now go back to the Senate for final passage. Gov. Jerry Brown should sign these measures, because they would significantly improve public health. In addition, residents of the state will get to vote in November on increasing the statewide tax on cigarettes by $2 per pack.

Last year, Hawaii became the first state to pass a law to raise the legal age for purchasing tobacco to 21. More than 100 cities and counties, including Boston, New York City and Suffolk County in Long Island have also adopted the policy.

Four states — Alabama, Alaska, New Jersey and Utah — set the legal age at 19, and the rest set it at 18. Unfortunately, in January, Gov. Chris Christie vetoed legislation that would have changed New Jersey’s legal sale age to 21.

The biggest reason to raise the legal age to 21 is to reduce young people’s access to tobacco when they are more likely to become addicted and when their brains are still developing. Studies have found that nicotine, the main addictive ingredient in cigarettes, can impair cognition among young people. About 90 percent of adult smokers first use cigarettes before turning 19, and almost all smokers start before age 26, according to an Institute of Medicine study published last year.

The study also found that raising the age to 21 nationwide would reduce access to cigarettes for people under 18, because most children get tobacco from slightly older friends and relatives. Over all, the study concluded that changing the age to 21 should prevent 223,000 premature deaths and collectively add 4.2 million years to the lives of those born between 2000 and 2019.

There is broad public support for making it harder for young people to buy tobacco. Nearly 75 percent of adults surveyed supported changing the age to 21, according to a 2015 paper by researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Big majorities of former and even active smokers support the change.

Some will surely argue that setting a higher age for cigarette sales infringes on young people’s rights. California lawmakers who subscribed to such arguments put in a needless exception allowing active-duty military troops to buy cigarettes and other tobacco products at age 18. But there is a clear public interest in increasing the age for everybody, just as there was a compelling reason to make 21 the legal age to buy alcohol. That policy, adopted state by state over time, helped reduce drunken driving, saving nearly 22,000 lives between 1975 and 2002, according to the Department of Transportation.

California is often at the vanguard of important policy changes. The state’s move toward raising the legal age to buy cigarettes should inspire other states to take similar steps to protect young people.

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A version of this editorial appears in print on March 6, 2016, on page SR8 of the New York edition with the headline: Raise the Legal Age for Cigarette Sales.

Copyright 2016 The New York Times Company