kids wrote to us:
- Tyler, 12, is worried because both of his parents smoke. He's heard that you can die from smoking, but isn't sure if his parents are really in danger.
- Amber, 11, just moved to a new city and has discovered that her only friend smokes. Amber doesn't want her pal to think she's afraid, so she's thinking of giving it a try.
- Keith, 12, has a friend who's experimenting with smoking and says that he likes it. While he's not pressuring Keith to join him, Keith is worried that his buddy will become addicted.
- Jessica, 12, says her parents smoke so much that she holds her breath every time she enters her living room. While she's concerned for her folks, Jessica is also scared that she could get sick from all the smoke she's inhaling.
- Jacob, 13, hates the smell of smoke and wishes smoking were against the law for everyone. He isn't sure if there's anyone else his age that feels this way.
First off, smoking is dangerous to your health. There's no question about it. In fact, 400,000 people die each year from smoking-related illnesses. Research has shown that adult smokers usually take their first puff before age 18 and over 3,000 kids become regular smokers each day.
You may have already decided that smoking is not, and never will be, something you need to experience. Or, you may be thinking, "I'm dying of curiosity! Maybe I should try it!" That's normal. Either way, it's important to understand the whole truth about cigarettes and tobacco. Start by reading up on the Health Hazards.
Our thanks to the following for their contribution to this topic:
- Reba Griffith, Matt Sones and Melissa Havard from the Centers for Disease Control
- Cliff Cohen and Nigel Zeid from AnimAction, Inc.