Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Biggest predictors of youth smoking? Access to cigarettes and friends who smoke

For those of us in the field this is not rocket science, but to the less informed lay person it might be interesting to learn that access to cigarettes is one of the biggest predictors of whether kids will pick up smoking.

According to an article published by Reuters HealthDay on July 14, 2008 based on a study reported in the July, 2008 issue of Annals of Family Medicine, the researchers found that kids who reported they could easily obtain cigarettes and/or whose friends smoked were much more likely to get addicted. Of course, the easiest access to cigarettes is from friends who smoke. If your kid is hanging around with kids who smoke this is a huge risk factor and as a parent, you might want to curtail your child's hanging around with such kids.

Here is part of what the Reuters HealthDay article says:

Kids who can get their hands easily on cigarettes -- say from friends or close acquaintances -- are more likely to end up with a regular smoking habit, a new study of sixth-graders finds.

Hopefully, the information will help health care professionals help kids quit before they even start, said the authors of a study in the current issue of Annals of Family Medicine.

"We found that if you get kids to answer just two simple questions, 'Would it be easy for you to get a cigarette?' and 'Do you have friends who smoke?' you can identify those who are at high risk of becoming regular smokers," said Chyke Doubeni of the University of Massachusetts Medical School, in a school press release. "Saying yes to either should raise a red flag and prompt doctors and others to talk with parents and kids about how to avoid smoking."

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