Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Smoking addiction among kids

The Age discusses a report by Joseph DiFranza et al (2007) suggesting that young kids - 12 to 13 year olds - get addicted very quickly to cigarettes.

The claim is that some get addicted within a day or so of initiating smoking and 25% within a month. Kids can get addicted to smoking - in the sense of developing a compulsion to use - even when they are consuming much less than an average of one cigarette per day. Moreover, the first smoke can be dangerous.

The work in some respects boosts earlier findings along the same line. The authors put a fair bit of effort into meaningfully characterising the idea of dependence. Thus addiction is not necessarily a slow and gradual process – especially among the young.

This is a somewhat surprising report but not completely so given the strong impact we know nicotine has on the brain chemistry of youth. We know that the earlier people smoke the harder it is to eventually quit. We also know that disruptions to brain development accompany nicotine use occur up to age 25. It is important for young kids not to smoke at all.


Anastasia said...

I'm not sure about people being addicted via inhalation. Nicotine isn't Crack, and yes I'm a smoker, but my habit wasn't ingrained by inhaling my mother's cigarettes. I actually hated it, it was more a peer group thing, coupled to the fact that cigarette advertising was on its highs back then; 'Only the Best' will do was common copy in many magazines advertising cigarettes or promoting them as a glamorous accessory. These days, this has been substituted with cosmetics and designer handbags (in women's maagazines).

There's the other insidious element of cigarette smoking or indirect advertising that influences younger people today, and that's the celebrity smoker and the way smoking makes its way into film. Although I do believe in films being true to a social context, films like Basic Instinct, sold purely on sex (perhaps one of Joe Esterhas's more controversial stories), featured a smoking female protagonist in the form of Sharon Stone. Tobacco companies no longer have to spend millions on advertising campaigns, it's all about product placemant in films.

Paparazzi photographs always depict the other facets; Kate Moss is almost always snapped with a cigarette, as was model Christy Turlington once upon a time and then there's Brad Pitt.

These types of reports only exacerbate the fascist mentality that's out there. Exhaled cigarette smoke is far from appealing, on an olfactory level,revolting a person instantaneously, to be appealing, hence develop an addiction.

There is no pure nicotine in cigarette smoke.The smoke is a soup of compounds, that are more lethal than nicotine, which puts paid to the notion that smoke is addictive (on the basis of nicotine)

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