Published On:25 May 2011
Posted by Indian Muslim Observer

HEALTH WATCH: How to fight Teen Smoking

By Dr. Vivek Sharma

"A pinch of tobacco, rolled in paper with fire at one end and a fool at other" - Wonderfully described definition of a cigarette.

Michael Jordan, a basketball legend and entrepreneur has smoked himself into a controversy last year. His enjoyment of cigars is no secret, but now after recent photos of Jordan on some new websites and magazines showed up with Jordan puffing away on a cigar at a celebrity soft ball game.

"When high profile people publicly display unhealthy habits they can mislead young people to emulate their behaviour."

Smoking was once thought to be a very fascinating phenomenon. The pleasure effect it has on the human mind as well as the style statement associated with it was considered an element of high esteem. Formerly regarded as a "lifestyle choice" smoking is now recognized as a chronic, relapsing disorder caused because of addiction.

Tobacco has been used by humans since the earliest recorded history of the western hemisphere, but cigarettes did not become popular until the 19th century. It was in 1913 when camel, the first modern cigarette was introduced and mass marketed by R.J. Reynolds that consumption of cigarettes increased dramatically.

Nearly all first use of Tobacco occurs before high school graduation so if adolescent don't start smoking by age 18, odds are they never will. For those who experiment with cigarette, new research shows teens can get hooked on nicotine more quickly than adults by extremely low levels of Tobacco.

Understanding the addiction

To cease smoking is the easiest thing I ever did. I ought to know because I've done it a thousand times. ~Mark Twain, attributed

When a cigarette is smoked, nicotine rich blood passes from the lungs to the brain within 7 seconds and immediately stimulates the release of many chemical messengers. These messengers stimulate the brain and cause pleasure, appetite suppression, arousal, cognitive enhancement, learning mood modulation and reduction of anxiety and tension. The decrease in brain reward function experienced during cessation of smoking is an essential component of nicotine addiction and a key barrier to abstinence.

Benefits of quitting

One thousand Americans stop smoking every day – by dying. ~ Author Unknown.
By stopping smoking as early as possible, there can be a reduction in the risk of cancers and lung and heart diseases. Quitting is worthwhile because it reduces the risk of heart disease, having a blood clot, developing several types of cancers and chronic lung diseases. At the same time quitting cigarettes,  improves stamina for exercising and participating in sports and also improves senses of taste and smell.

Ways to help teenagers stay free from smoking

• Understand the attraction – Ask your teens how he feels about smoking, sometimes teen smoking is a form of rebellion or a way to fit in with a particular group of friends. Some teens smoke to feel better about themselves others smoke to feel cool or independent.

• Not to go for advertisements – Talk with your teen about how tobacco companies try to influence ideas about smoking – such as paying actors and celebrities to smoke in movies and advertisements to create the perception that smoking is cool.

• Set a good example – Teen smoking is more common among teens whose parents smoke. If you do smoke, quit now. Don't smoke in the house, in the car or before your teen, and don't leave cigarettes where your teen might find them. Explain how unhappy you are with your smoking and how difficult it is to quit.

• Appeal to your teen's vanity – Smoking is not glamorous, tell your teen that smoking is a dirty, smelly habit. It gives them bad breath, makes their clothes smell, and it turns their teeth yellow. Smoking can leave them with less energy for sports and other activities that they enjoy.

• Do the arithmetic – Smoking is expensive. Help your teen calculate the weekly, monthly or yearly cost of a pack a day. You might compare teen cost of smoking with that of electronic gadgets, clothes or other teen essentials.

• Take habit seriously – Most teens believe they can quit smoking any time they want. But teens become just as addicted to nicotine as do adults, often quickly and relatively with low doses of nicotine. And once they are hooked, it is tough to quit.

• How to avoid peer pressure – Teach your children how to handle peer pressure. It all starts with talking about peer pressure. How it can be very subtle and how your child can say no without feeling like he is offending his friend.
How teen can avoid smoking

• Brush you teeth right after meals: The urge to smoke is really intense right after meals. So it is a good idea to get up from the table right after you eat, head into the bathroom, and brush and floss your teeth.

• Cut down on alcohol, because all too often a cigarette and a drink are very closely linked.

• Anytime you get the urge to smoke, put a drop of clove oil on your finger and apply it to the back of your tongue.

• Keep your hands busy: write letters, do crosswords, read a book, make puzzles, take up drawing and painting.

• The rubber band method – This method is actually backed by research. You wear a rubber band around your wrist and snap it against your skin when you feel the urge to smoke. Be sure that the rubber band is loose enough so it doesn't block blood flow or leave a mark on the skin when it is removed.

If your teen has already started smoking, avoid threats and ultimatums. Instead, be supporting find out why your teen is smoking and then discuss ways to help your teen stop smoking, such as hanging out with friends who don't smoke or getting involved in new activities. Stopping teen smoking in its tracks is the best thing your teen can do for a lifetime of good health.

Thank you for Not Smoking. Cigarette smoke is the residue of your pleasure. It contaminates the air, pollutes my hair and clothes, not to mention my lugs. This takes place without my consent. I have a pleasure, also. I like a beer now and then. The residue of my pleasure is urine. Would you be annoyed if I stood on a chair and pissed on your head and your clothes without your consent? ~ Sign from Ken's Magic Shop.

[Dr. Vivek Sharma is Consultant Paediatrician in Rungta Hospital, Jaipur. He can be contacted at drvivek_sharma@rediffmail.com]

About the Author

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer on May 25, 2011. Filed under , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Feel free to leave a response

By Indian Muslim Observer on May 25, 2011. Filed under , , . Follow any responses to the RSS 2.0. Leave a response

1 comments for "HEALTH WATCH: How to fight Teen Smoking"

  1. Stopping teen smoking is a challenge simply because it requires a lot of discipline and hard work. There are many effective ways to stop teen smoking and I bet that punishment is an option to consider.

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