Nationally, smoking among high school students continued to decline during 2003 to 2009, but at a slower rate than during 1999 to 2003.
Smoking rates declined slightly in Franklin County, Ohio and the United States during the 2005 to 2009 period.
“We are working to reduce impulsivity in a group of local teens who are smoking or considering smoking. Being able to master the cognitive tasks also predicts success in a treatment program, so we believe imbedding this kind of cognitive training in a treatment program can be a very successful model for stopping smoking.”
Brady Reynolds, PhD, is a principal investigator in the Center for Biobehavioral Health at The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and assistant professor of pediatrics at The Ohio State University.
When she started smoking at age 14, “Ellen” thought she would be able to quit anytime. Four years later, she is upbeat yet struggling in a program to quit smoking.
“I started smoking because everyone else was doing it. I felt cool when I smoked,” says this teen who asked that we not use her real name, because her father and other family members don’t know she smokes. After smoking for a couple years, Ellen realized she was hooked on tobacco. She also noticed she would run out of breath quickly when she exerted herself, and she sometimes found it hard to breathe.
Now that she has experienced the uncool consequences of smoking, Ellen wants to quit to prepare for a healthier future. “I want to be a mom someday,” she explains. “I want my kids to be healthy, and I want to be healthy so I’ll be around to see them grow up.”
Ellen has become even more concerned about her health since enrolling in a program to help her quit. She has learned about the toxic chemicals in cigarette smoke and what they are doing to her body. “I also learned how my body will heal after I quit.” She has cut back on the number of cigarettes she smokes and is positive about her future as a nonsmoker.
“Almost all adult smokers start before they graduate from high school. While teens are still using tobacco in Franklin County, we are making good progress due to local and statewide smoke-free laws and youth anti-smoking efforts. Other states have shown teen smoking rates leveling off or even increasing. Public policy changes, including recent regulation of tobacco by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and increasing the state cigarette tax, are the best weapons to help us fight tobacco company efforts to addict youth.”
Frank Bright is chief mission delivery officer at The American Cancer Society, Ohio Division.