Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Teen Smokers: Can You Really Quit?

How quickly does a young teen smoker become dependent or "addicted?" It turns out very quickly. In a new article in the respected journal Pediatrics by Doubeni and colleagues from Massachusetts a remarkable study shows that even monthly puffs can quickly lead to a risk of developing dependency.

The researchers followed over a thousand sixth graders in 6 Massachusetts schools with three confidential interviews per year for four years. Of note is that of 1246 sixth graders, 370 had inhaled from a cigarette at least once.

Dependence follows a pretty typical course and begins, sometimes after the very first cigarette. The sequence is as follows: a strong desire for a cigarette followed by a sense of dis-ease when cigarettes are not available (called "withdrawal") and then followed by a sense of being "addicted" and unable to control use. As the symptoms intensify, the frequency of use accelerates in order to satisfy the cravings and treat the increasing withdrawal (feeling irritable, restless, anxious, and having difficulty concentrating). This feeds a vicious cycle of tolerance (a hallmark of addiction where needs are only met with increasing doses of the drug) and more symptoms of addiction.

What this study shows is that even relatively infrequent and intermittent use of tobacco can promote symptoms of dependence very quickly in young people. Parents, teachers, doctors and students need to know this and begin to recognize the early symptoms of dependence and encourage stopping even the most casual nicotine exposure.

photo credit: http://news.bbc.com

2 comments:

  1. You must be a role model. If you're a part of your school organization, create an anti-smoking campaign. This way, you will help every teen smoker to stay away from the habit.

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  2. The post is written in very a good manner and it entails many useful information for me. I am happy to find your distinguished way of writing the post.

    ReplyDelete