Parents need to take lead in teen smoking
It is encouraging to see that the sales of tobacco to minors is decreasing in the state and that local retailers are doing their part to keep cigarettes out of the hands of youngsters.
Tobacco sales to minors is reportedly down to 5.6 percent of all tobacco sales. Seven years ago, those underage sales made up 13.2 percent of all sales, reported the California Department of Public Health.
Efforts to curb teen smoking have been ongoing for decades and for good reasons.
According to the American Lung Association, cigarette smoking during childhood and adolescence produces significant health problems among young people, including an increase in the number and severity of respiratory illnesses, decreased physical fitness and potential effects on the rate of lung growth and maximum lung function.
It is also when the addiction to smoking takes hold that often persists into and sometimes throughout adulthood. If current tobacco use patterns persist, an estimated 6.4 million current child smokers will eventually die prematurely from a smoking-related disease, said the Lung Association.
The Center for Disease Control reports the adverse health effects from cigarette smoking account for an estimated 443,000 deaths, or nearly one of every five deaths, each year in the United States. More deaths are caused each year by tobacco use than by all deaths from human immunodeficiency virus, illegal drug use, alcohol use, motor vehicle injuries, suicides and murders combined and smoking causes an estimated 90 percent of all lung cancer deaths in men and 80 percent of all lung cancer deaths in women.
The emphasis to stop teens from smoking should not only be placed on store owners. Parents need to do all they can to keep their children from picking up the habit. Smoking, like drinking, is often a product of bad parenting and the responsibility of keeping kids from smoking should first, and foremost, be the responsibility of the parents.