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One in Four High School Seniors Smoke: Is It an 'Epidemic'?

Living 2012/03/09 18:46:19
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It's pretty hard to believe in 2012, but a whopping 25 percent of high school seniors are regular cigarette smokers, the U.S. surgeon general's office said in its first report on youth smoking since 1994, according to Reuters. And the habit often starts long before high school.



"Today, more than 600,000 middle school students and 3 million high school students smoke. We don't want our children to start something now that they won't be able to change later in life," Surgeon General Dr. Regina Benjamin said in the report. Nine in 10 current smokers started before the age of 18, and here's where it gets really scary: Because it's so hard to quit, some 80 percent of high school smokers will continue to smoke as adults, the report says.

The good news: U.S. smoking rates have fallen since 1964, when the surgeon general issued the first smoking warning. But the habit, which has been linked to lung cancer and heart disease, kills more than 1,200 people every day, making it the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, Reuters reports.

Dr. Howard Koh, assistant secretary for health at the United States Department of Health and Human Services, called for more action in a statement. "Until we end the tobacco epidemic, more young people will become addicted, more people will die and more families will be devastated by the suffering and loss of loved ones." Do you think youth smoking is an "epidemic"?
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Top Opinion

  • ehrhornp 2012/03/09 23:56:13
    No
    ehrhornp
    +10
    I think the number of smokers in the general population is around 25% so it doesn't seem like teenagers are much different. Dumb move on their part however. Also if 25% are smokers that means 75% are not.

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  • KB Inquisi... 2012/03/11 18:17:32
    KB
    Since when?
  • Inquisi... KB 2012/03/11 19:10:24
    Inquisitve Kat
    Since society has been keeping children as children longer and longer.
    I suppose 18 is sometimes an adult... then again, so is 15, at times. Other times, someone's not an adult until their twenties or thirties.
    You're an adult once you are entirely supporting yourself.
  • Hamilton KB 2012/03/11 10:01:53
    Hamilton
    +2
    Sure, go right ahead, die before 62 and save more social security bucks for the rest of us who were not stoooopid enough to smoke.
  • Inquisi... Hamilton 2012/03/11 19:13:25
  • Nonpartisan 2012/03/10 20:20:41
    Yes
    Nonpartisan
    +2
    One percent is too much. Lungs are there so that you can breath oxygen without which you will die. I have a good friend who never smoked, however, he hung around smokers and he is now dying very slowly from emphysema. I have known several other people who smoked until they just died of asphyxiation. It is sort of like being slowly strangled to death. Other than the fact that it is a filthy disgusting habit, it is hard to understand how any intelligent person would inhale smoke. If nothing else it drives up our already skyrocketing health care costs.
  • Inquisi... Nonpart... 2012/03/11 00:16:26
    Inquisitve Kat
    Smoking is terrible and it can and does cause disease, but that attitude is ridiculous... emphysema is not only caused by smoking... hanging around smokers is not likely to have given your friend emphysema. And just what do you mean "just died of asphyxiation"? I just double-checked... there are no medical cases of people dying as a result of asphyxia from smoking. I'm sick of smokers being scapegoated, taking all the blame for all of the other things that cause breathing problems (transportation spewing crap into the air, corporations like mills and refineries spewing pollution, lung disorders, etc).
    It's also not driving up healthcare costs, since healthcare costs associated with smoking are more than covered by the taxes on cigarettes (at least in Canada, where the Canadian Cancer society will even admit the fact).
  • JAA Inquisi... 2012/03/11 01:33:00 (edited)
    JAA
    +1
    It's best if you're going to talk about a subject for which you are unfamiliar, that you at least be humble enough to begin, "I think".

    Emphysema is PRIMARILY (85%) caused by smoking or second-hand smoke (hanging around smokers when they are actually smoking). Of course, if you live in a high-fog inner city, due to smog, then that ups the anty in regard to lung cancer & upper respiratory disorders, as does exposure to asbestos, but the main culprit is cigarette/cigar/pipe smoking. http://www.webmd.com/lung/vid...

    Regarding asphyxia: Emphysema can cause asphyxia [deprivation of oxygen] without supportive oxygen in the treatment regimen.

    Regarding tobacco users being "scapegoats": As long as they smoke in isolation (not force others to inhale the carcinogens or irritants), or with other smokers around the outside trash barrels (sorry), then they should be allowed to do so. My dad was a chain smoker, as were 3 of his brothers & 2 of my aunts. They all died due to complications associated with their smoking for 30+ years each.

    Regarding driving up healthcare costs: Through our taxes, Canada included, we pay for much of the treatment & care costs associated with cigarette smoking; including, but not limited to throat, lip & lung cancer; emphysema, chronic bronchitis & asthma; hear...&&

    &&
    It's best if you're going to talk about a subject for which you are unfamiliar, that you at least be humble enough to begin, "I think".

    Emphysema is PRIMARILY (85%) caused by smoking or second-hand smoke (hanging around smokers when they are actually smoking). Of course, if you live in a high-fog inner city, due to smog, then that ups the anty in regard to lung cancer & upper respiratory disorders, as does exposure to asbestos, but the main culprit is cigarette/cigar/pipe smoking. http://www.webmd.com/lung/vid...

    Regarding asphyxia: Emphysema can cause asphyxia [deprivation of oxygen] without supportive oxygen in the treatment regimen.

    Regarding tobacco users being "scapegoats": As long as they smoke in isolation (not force others to inhale the carcinogens or irritants), or with other smokers around the outside trash barrels (sorry), then they should be allowed to do so. My dad was a chain smoker, as were 3 of his brothers & 2 of my aunts. They all died due to complications associated with their smoking for 30+ years each.

    Regarding driving up healthcare costs: Through our taxes, Canada included, we pay for much of the treatment & care costs associated with cigarette smoking; including, but not limited to throat, lip & lung cancer; emphysema, chronic bronchitis & asthma; heart disease; peripheral vascular disease. Taxes on cigarettes alone in no way, form or fashion pay for ALL or Most of the costs associated with cigarette smoking (e.g. ICU, CCU, ERs, cardiac & respiratory rehab programs, labs, x-rays, home care, routine & palliative medications; oxygen, oxygen equipment, surgical suites, nurses, doctors, respiratory therapy other than oxygen, etc.).

    In the USA, taxes go to the government. Health care facilities & providers see NONE of that money. It goes for research, primarily, & also for administrative costs.
    (more)
  • Inquisi... JAA 2012/03/11 02:37:20
    Inquisitve Kat
    "Regarding tobacco users being "scapegoats": As long as they smoke in isolation (not force others to inhale the carcinogens or irritants), or with other smokers around the outside trash barrels (sorry), then they should be allowed to do so." - I agree with that entirely, but when I speak about scapegoating, I'm referring to smokers being blamed for every illness and/or death that could be (but is not always) caused by cigarette smoke over and above major polluters, like big industry or even public transportation. I don't think people should be smoking near entrances or in crowded public spaces, but it's gone overboard.

    As for taxes? In Canada, cigarettes are taxed considerably higher than the Canadian Cancer Society recommends. $7,538,367,182 was made from tobacco taxes, in Canada alone, between 2010 and 2011. Healthcare expenditure (in total, for everyone and everything smoking and non-smoking related) is around 200 billion. In 2007, CBC reported that direct healthcare costs associated with smoking are estimated to be around 3 billion (about 4 billion less than gained in taxes). If the government is not giving that 7 and a half billion in taxes from cigarettes to the health care industry, then shouldn't the pressure be on the government instead of the smokers?

    I stand correcte...

    "Regarding tobacco users being "scapegoats": As long as they smoke in isolation (not force others to inhale the carcinogens or irritants), or with other smokers around the outside trash barrels (sorry), then they should be allowed to do so." - I agree with that entirely, but when I speak about scapegoating, I'm referring to smokers being blamed for every illness and/or death that could be (but is not always) caused by cigarette smoke over and above major polluters, like big industry or even public transportation. I don't think people should be smoking near entrances or in crowded public spaces, but it's gone overboard.

    As for taxes? In Canada, cigarettes are taxed considerably higher than the Canadian Cancer Society recommends. $7,538,367,182 was made from tobacco taxes, in Canada alone, between 2010 and 2011. Healthcare expenditure (in total, for everyone and everything smoking and non-smoking related) is around 200 billion. In 2007, CBC reported that direct healthcare costs associated with smoking are estimated to be around 3 billion (about 4 billion less than gained in taxes). If the government is not giving that 7 and a half billion in taxes from cigarettes to the health care industry, then shouldn't the pressure be on the government instead of the smokers?

    I stand corrected on emphysema... but still, where the person didn't smoke, unless they were living with the smokers they hung out with, it's not likely that smoking caused their emphysema. As for the asphyxia, yes, emphysema can cause it, but the person who was talking about his friends didn't say they had emphysema, he simply said they just died of asphyxia... and several people, at that! It sounds like it was made up, which is the only reason I addressed it in the first place.

    Smoking kills, but why can't we get that message across without making up stories or exaggerating facts? It's the alarmist attitude with which I'm taking issue.
    (more)
  • Nonpart... Inquisi... 2012/03/11 21:36:06
    Nonpartisan
    Please, NOBODY is exaggerating the facts. If anything there are too many facts to state in a small space. There is NO alarmist attitude here.
  • Inquisi... Nonpart... 2012/03/11 21:54:32
    Inquisitve Kat
    +1
    There is quite an alarmist attitude. Smokers are treated like terrorists.
    Smoking is bad and there are a lot of problems associated with smoking, but there is no need to take an alarmist attitude regarding all issues. It can be dealt with as serious issue without acting extreme.
    Your particular statement, when you explained it, was not alarmist... like I said, sorry that I read it as such.
  • Nonpart... Inquisi... 2012/03/11 21:30:13
    Nonpartisan
    +1
    When Your lungs no longer function to transfer oxygen into your blood that, my dear, is asphyxiation, and that is what you die of even though the doctors call it death from something else. It is a well known fact that smoking destroys your lungs and makes their job much harder and eventually impossible.

    It sure as BLANK is driving up the costs of health care, even though some taxes are used to pay for it. When anything drives up the cost of health care it really does not mater who pays for it since the fact is that the cost of health care has risen, I am not discussing how it gets paid for, usually it is paid for by health insurance and when the cost to the insurance companies goes up the premiums for ALL of the people go up regardless of whether they smoke.

    Yes my friend's emphysema WAS most likely caused by spending a very lot of time in smoke filled rooms with his friends, that is the only likely cause that can be determined. Many entertainers end up with the same problem when they spend a lot of time in smoke filled venues where they entertain.

    And smoking IS a disgusting filthy habit that is not scapegoating anyone it is simply stating an obvious undeniable fact. I believe very little that the PRO Cancer societies say, all of their high paid executives would become unemplo...

    When Your lungs no longer function to transfer oxygen into your blood that, my dear, is asphyxiation, and that is what you die of even though the doctors call it death from something else. It is a well known fact that smoking destroys your lungs and makes their job much harder and eventually impossible.

    It sure as BLANK is driving up the costs of health care, even though some taxes are used to pay for it. When anything drives up the cost of health care it really does not mater who pays for it since the fact is that the cost of health care has risen, I am not discussing how it gets paid for, usually it is paid for by health insurance and when the cost to the insurance companies goes up the premiums for ALL of the people go up regardless of whether they smoke.

    Yes my friend's emphysema WAS most likely caused by spending a very lot of time in smoke filled rooms with his friends, that is the only likely cause that can be determined. Many entertainers end up with the same problem when they spend a lot of time in smoke filled venues where they entertain.

    And smoking IS a disgusting filthy habit that is not scapegoating anyone it is simply stating an obvious undeniable fact. I believe very little that the PRO Cancer societies say, all of their high paid executives would become unemployed if they really cared about curing cancer, because the cure for cancer was found by Doctor Max Gerson before World War Two and it is free. They are in the business for the same reason that anyone else is to make as much money as they can.

    The first step in preventing Lung Cancer is to not smoke which is entirely voluntary. You are absolutely right there is industrial air pollution which is more difficult to address because there is a lot of money and Political Power involved, it is very difficult to make meaningful progress there, however, since Governments have passed Pollution laws some slow progress has occurred. I spent over 30 years working for the United States Environmental Protection Agency, I know all about Air Pollution, thank you.
    (more)
  • Inquisi... Nonpart... 2012/03/11 21:38:41
    Inquisitve Kat
    +1
    Your response is of utmost quality and I stand corrected. On the surface, your original comment looked like a gross exaggeration.
    I apologise for assuming such.
  • Nintaku 2012/03/10 20:09:12
    No
    Nintaku
    +3
    10 in 9 seniors smoked in the 1940s.
  • JAA Nintaku 2012/03/11 01:51:15
    JAA
    Sorry, but that's mathematically impossible. ;-)
  • Nintaku JAA 2012/03/11 02:56:32
    Nintaku
    XD
    Don't make me hug you! *hugs!*
  • tornado 2012/03/10 19:58:52
    Yes
    tornado
    +1
    I think the epidemic starts with the extreme right wing urging parents to beat their kids and call them names if they have an unpure thought. The kids are probably suicidal but too young to buy a gun so they go the slow suicide route.Maybe they're hoping they'll outgrow their suicidal thoughts and their smoking habit when they're old enough to leave home. It doesn't work that way, though. Especially if you grow up and get married to someone else who has slow suicidal thoughts and smokes as well.
  • justnotsaying (: 2012/03/10 19:58:33
    No
    justnotsaying (:
    +3
    This is nothing new. I'm sure more than smoke, but just didn't admit to it.
  • A 2012/03/10 19:51:39 (edited)
    No
    A
    +2
    High school kids who chose to smoke is your concern? How about about all the infants, toddlers and young children getting second hand smoke blown in their lungs everyday by their parents. I don't think it's an epedemic, people just need to stop being stupid.
  • rcswaggcity 2012/03/10 19:36:51
    No
    rcswaggcity
    +2
    Its just dumb amd nasty.
  • cfd007 2012/03/10 19:29:40
    No
    cfd007
    +3
    The government needs to stay out of our lives. People are living so long now that it's breaking social security.
  • Lindsey cfd007 2012/03/10 21:40:12
    Lindsey
    What do you think of all the people on SSI and Disability that don't deserve it? That is really putting a debt in our taxes.You know, the working people are paying for the ones that don't want to work and that's what makes us different from the third world countries. Our country don't want us to live in huts and starving to death and dying of all kinds of curable diseases, so they give us food stamps, pays us SSI and stuff like that. Only in America baby. Lol
  • shadow76 2012/03/10 18:45:43
    No
    shadow76
    +2
    Too many brainless followers!
  • jenny.bryan1 2012/03/10 18:40:15
  • jenny.b... jenny.b... 2012/03/10 18:41:48
    jenny.bryan1
    +1
    Did you know it's legal fromt e ages of 12 in the uk to smoke but you're not alllowed t buy them buying them is illegal how gay is that. What a rediculouse rule? :O lol XD XD
  • Joanna jenny.b... 2012/03/10 18:54:15
    Joanna
    What?? Bull! I actually live in the UK, and it's legal from 16, but you can't buy cigarettes, and you can buy them from 18. Do your research before you say stuff like that...
  • Chris S... Joanna 2012/03/11 01:55:01
    Chris Simmons
    really depends on the part of the uk certain areas its legal and others its not so jennys right in one sense
  • Soup Man 2012/03/10 18:01:53
    Yes
    Soup Man
    +2
    It's a perspective issue
  • Lindsey Soup Man 2012/03/10 21:44:54
    Lindsey
    What about Marijuana?
  • Soup Man Lindsey 2012/03/11 01:45:23
    Soup Man
    In what way
  • Lindsey Soup Man 2012/03/11 01:54:11
    Lindsey
    What do you think about young adults smoking marijuana?
  • Soup Man Lindsey 2012/03/11 02:21:44
    Soup Man
    I would rather have then smoke marihuana then drink alcohol
    Cigarettes as they are produced today have too many additives in them
  • Lindsey Soup Man 2012/03/11 12:01:42 (edited)
    Lindsey
    Do you know what that ammonia in cigarettes is for?
  • Soup Man Lindsey 2012/03/11 15:09:11
    Soup Man
    Not sure if it is a component when the tobacco plant is grown or some other point in the production of the cigarettes.
    the short answer is "no" sorry :-(
  • Nightmusic 2012/03/10 17:55:44
    No
    Nightmusic
    +2
    I haven't had a cigarette in about a year, but looking at that girl is making me remember that great feeling of sucking it in and letting it out. It feels so good! I want one!!!

    One in four? When I was in high school it was much higher than that. No, it's not an epidemic. They'll quit when they're ready. We have more important things to worry about.
  • Prime T... Nightmusic 2012/03/10 19:38:32
    Prime Time Lime
    When I was in high school it was more like one in ten.I think it is a concern.
  • cassie 2012/03/10 17:44:14
    Yes
    cassie
    +3
    I mean hasn't it always been an issue?
  • intolerantrwj 2012/03/10 17:40:06
    No
    intolerantrwj
    +1
    ...... so much for the intellectually inspired Warning Label on smokes !

    Hey .... why aren't the Smoke Nazi's yankin' smokes from kids lunches and replacing them with Chicken McNuggets .... where's 'dem Smoke Nazi's at when you need 'em !
  • Margaret Jacobson 2012/03/10 17:36:24
    No
    Margaret Jacobson
    +2
    SOMEBODY has to buy cigarettes??? What would happen to the taxes the gov is trying to collect??? what will happen to tobacco farmers???
  • Prime T... Margare... 2012/03/10 17:57:16
    Prime Time Lime
    What about the costs to the health care system because of smokers.It is tax dollars that have to pay for these costs.If the government collect sales tax on cigarettes ,how does that help the tax payers?
  • Mud 2012/03/10 17:29:45
    No
    Mud
    +4
    It's not an epidemic, it's stupidity. I know when I see a cute girl with a cigarette in her mouth I think, what a waste. Completely kills any desire I had to kiss them.

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