The real reasons kids smoke - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

The real reasons kids smoke

by Teresa Mackin

WAUSAU (WAOW) --  Smoking across the country has declined in past years. Now, the number one concern of health professionals is teen smokers.

Some say by understanding why your teen might start, you could stop their habit before it starts.

At age 10, Angel promised herself she would never smoke. The now 21-year-old says, "Our teacher gave us this huge list of all the chemicals that were in cigarettes like nail polish removal, and I was like, gross."

At age 13, she was handed her first cigarette. Her friend told her it felt good to smoke. Angel says, "I've been smoking since I was 13 and I'm 21 right now, and I smoke about a pack a day."

Angel's been able to quit taking other drugs, but this is the one addiction she can't kick. She says, "I do want to stop, but it's the hardest thing to do."

Angel started smoking only because her friends did. But according to a study by the University of Wisconsin, the majority of high school kids pick up a pack of cigarettes because their parents do.

Certified Prevention Specialist Sue Nowak says, "If you tell a child not to smoke but yet they see the parent smoking, kids are going to ignore what you're saying, and they're going to do whatever behavior you are doing."

The C.D.C says 23-percent of high school students across the country smoke. And Nowak adds once kids start, it's hard to stop. And dangerous. She says lungs and organs are still developing during the teen years.

It's for that reason, Angel says she hopes many kids won't even start -- and that she'll be able to quit someday.

Nowak adds, "Reality is, the drug that's killing more people in the united states is tobacco."

For more information on smoking, we've attached a few links to this story. Or for the complete UW study, highlighting all the reasons teens start, click here.

Online Reporter: Teresa Mackin

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