Youth and Smoking Podcasts
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Dr. Ann Malarcher discusses the problem of teenage smoking and offers strategies to help teens kick the deadly habit, such as counseling, smoking cessation, and the toll free quit line 1-800 QUIT NOW.
A CUP OF HEALTH WITH CDC
High School Students Who Tried to Quit Smoking Cigarettes—United States, 2007
July 30, 2009
[Announcer] This podcast is presented by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC—safer, healthier people.
[Dr. Gaynes] Welcome to A Cup of Health with CDC, a weekly feature of the MMWR, the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. I'm your host, Dr. Robert Gaynes.
For teenagers, when it comes to smoking, it's a lot easier to start than to stop. According to a recent CDC report, 61% of high school students who reported smoking daily tried to quit, but only 12% were successful.
Dr. Ann Malarcher is an epidemiologist with CDC's Office on Smoking and Health. She's joining us today to discuss the problem of teenage smoking. Welcome to the show, Ann.
[Dr. Malarcher] Thanks Bob.
[Dr. Gaynes] Ann, what percentage of U.S. teens are smokers?
[Dr. Malarcher] Well, among U.S. high school students, 20 percent report that they're currently smoking.
[Dr. Gaynes] At what age are children most likely to begin smoking?
[Dr. Malarcher] Most try their first cigarette some time between age 12 and 14, and we know among adults, they report that almost all of them began smoking before they graduated from high school.
[Dr. Gaynes] Is smoking more common among boys or girls?
[Dr. Malarcher] Actually, girls are just as likely to smoke as boys when they're in high school.
[Dr. Gaynes] Ann, why do young smokers find it so difficult to quit?
[Dr. Malarcher] Bob, in our study we looked at smokers who reported that they were already daily smokers, and when you consider daily smoking, many of them have already developed nicotine addiction. Nicotine is the substance in tobacco that's responsible for making people maintain their cigarette use, even when they want to quit, and for making it extremely difficult for them to quit.
[Dr. Gaynes] So, what strategies or methods have proven successful for those who want to quit smoking?
[Dr. Malarcher] Counseling for smoking cessation by a doctor or other health care provider has been shown to increase quitting among youth by about 80%. Schools also do have smoking cessation programs that include counseling, and another effective resource is a National toll free telephone counseling service available though 1-800 QUIT NOW.
[Dr. Gaynes] What roles should parents play in helping their children quit?
[Dr. Malarcher] Well, if parents are currently smokers they should try to quit themselves, and that would set a great example for their kids. For those who are having trouble quitting, or now is not the right time to quit, it's important to establish smoke-free homes, cars, and vehicles, and by not allowing anyone to smoke in homes, cars, or vehicles, actually has been associated with increased cessation both among youth and adults, and finally, I'd say encourage your youth to talk with their health care providers about their tobacco use and about getting help with quitting.
[Dr. Gaynes] Where can listeners get more information about helping teen smokers kick this addiction?
[Dr. Malarcher] Well, they can go to our website at www.cdc.gov/tobacco, and for people interested in quitting smoking, they can call, as I mentioned before, the toll free quit line at 1-800 QUIT NOW.
[Dr. Gaynes] Thanks Ann.
I've been talking today with CDC's Dr. Ann Malarcher about smoking in teenagers. Remember, the best way to avoid becoming addicted to cigarettes is never to start smoking. However, for parents of teens who already smoke, talk to your children about the dangers of tobacco, and then speak with your health care provider about ways to help kick this deadly addiction.
Until next time, be well. This is Dr. Robert Gaynes for A Cup of Health with CDC.
[Announcer] For the most accurate health information, visit www.cdc.gov or call 1-800-CDC-INFO, 24/7.
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