This blog post has been contributed by Dr. Ujwala Shenoy Karmarkar, a practising Anesthesiologist in Mumbai. She also blogs at http://ujwalasblog.wordpress.com.
Browsing the internet, I came across a picture of international model, Kate Moss, when she was nineteen. Dewy fresh skin, innocent good looks and a glow that owed nothing to cosmetics, she was clicked with a cigarette dangling from her fingers. Today, at nearly forty, she is still a smoker, but she appears haggard, her skin gray and lifeless; the wrinkles on it that of a woman many years older. The only constant is, however, the ubiquitous cigarette, which Kate, in spite of her plethora of de-addiction clinics is unable to shake off. An example of a teen smoker who could not quit on time!!
WHY DO TEENS TAKE THEIR FIRST PUFF?
Studies indicate that many smokers start as early as thirteen, usually, because they have an older friend, sibling or parent who they look up to or wish to emulate. Sometimes, they wish to appear cool in the eyes of the person they are trying to impress or just wish to be a part of the group they are hanging out with. Chances of this “first puff”- smoking – becoming an addiction also increase, if the smoker is part of a family or group of smokers.
Thus, everyday, nearly 4000 teenagers all over the world smoke their first cigarette and 25% of these, unable to kick the habit, will become chronic smokers even in adulthood.
Smoking is the wolf in the story of three little pigs, whose puffs and huffs brings the house down.
In India, the prevalence of cigarette smoking is rising among teenagers and is 6-8% depending on the city. The number of girls smoking is also rising.
HOW TO MAKE YOUR TEEN QUIT SMOKING
1.) SET A GOOD EXAMPLE- Teens usually emulate the parent, so if you are a smoker, you should quit !! If the smoker is part of a family of smokers or group of smokers, it is far more difficult to quit. Do not smoke in the house, car or in the presence of your teen. Do not leave cigarettes lying around the house.
2.) TALK – Explain why smoking is bad. And, that it is also an expensive habit! Teens are usually concerned only about short term issues, so heart and lung disease may not be a big deal. Tell them that
- Every time one takes a puff, the body is being subjected to 4000 different chemicals such as tar, nicotine, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide.
- Smoking causes dry, dull and flaky skin.
- Smoking can cause premature wrinkles, second only to the effect of sun exposure.
- Hair loses its shine, with early hair loss and baldness.
- Heavy smoking leads to yellowed teeth as well as a persistent odor, gum disease, persistent bad breath, loss of teeth.
- Chronic smoking deteriorates appearance so much that if one of a pair of identical twins is a chronic smoker, he/she can appear much older than the other.
- Teen smokers are more likely to have panic attacks, anxiety disorders and depression.
- Smoking leaves one unable to exert oneself in sports and physical activity and feeling winded much earlier.
3.) FRIENDS AND THEIR FAMILY-