Teen Smoking

I.J. Samson Junior High
St. John's, Newfoundland

By Kari N. (Grade 9)

Why do so many teens smoke? Do they get some special kick out of it? Many parents have a problem figuring out how to punish their child for smoking. This article may help parents in this situation.

I spoke with Bob, a fourteen-year-old smoker. I asked Bob when he started smoking and he said he started when he was ten. The reason he started was because he liked the head spins. By the time the head spins went away he was already addicted. Bob's favorite brand of cigarettes is Du Maurier King Size. Bob told me that he had tried to quit many times but he found it just too hard. I asked him what he thought about anti-smoking advertisements and he said, "They are really stupid because nobody actually listens to them."

After talking to Bob, I decided to talk to Anne, a thirteen-year-old non-smoker. She said, "Smoking is totally gross." She said she tried it and it made her sick so she'll never do it again. Anne told me that she can't understand how anyone can smoke when they know it can kill them, teen or not.

Many parents wonder how they can punish their child if they were caught smoking. Really, truly, there is nothing you can do. If parents ground their kids, the parents are only getting their kids to want more cigarettes and, if they take their kids allowance away, they'll only spend the rest of their money (like lunch money) on smokes. What I suggest to parents in this situation is to sit down with your teen and talk to them (don't yell). Tell them how disappointed in them you are, and tell them you'll do anything to help them quit.

One of the dumbest things about teen smoking is that it is against the law for a teen to buy smokes, yet stores still sell them to people under age. The cops don't even try to stop them.

If you're a teen who wants to quit smoking, there are many organizations that are trying to help people in your situation. Right now, Much Music is offering a kit called "Quit 4 Life" to help teens quit smoking.

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