Drug Abuse Council Warns of Dangers of Adolescent Smoking


Some 19 per cent of students between the ages of 13 and 17 who participated in the Global Tobacco Youth Survey (GYTS) in 2006 have indicated their intention to continue smoking.
“What this study found was that almost one-third of students who confessed to having parents who smoke indicated that they intend to smoke in the future while 16 per cent of students whose parents did not smoke say they intended to smoke in the future. So there is a correlation we feel, between parents who smoke and the projected use of the cigarette in our adolescent population that we studied,” revealed Ellen Campbell-Grizzle of the National Council and Drug Abuse, (NCDA) at a forum on Thursday (Dec. 29).
Dr Campbell-Grizzle was giving a presentation on “Tobacco: Impact on Jamaica’s Youth” at the NCDA-organised forum at the Eden Gardens Hotel. She noted that the parent-child link to smoking was of concern to health planners in light of the correlation between smoking and chronic diseases. “Our adolescents underestimate the addictiveness of nicotine. They believe that they’ll be able to quit in five to six years, but the studies show that 75 per cent are still smoking up five to six years later”, Dr. Campbell-Grizzle says.
She explained that 61 per cent of the respondents in GYTS study indicated that they wanted to quit and that 62 per cent say they had tried to stop while about 69 per cent received help to stop smoking.
Pointing to the potency of nicotine and the toxicity of the ammonia found in tobacco, Mrs. Campbell-Grizzle stated that the research shows that cigarette is a gateway drug. “I think that’s well established. It opens the appetite for use of other substances. It’s a major concern in Jamaica, because when we look at the data coming out of treatment and rehabilitation, what our people say is that the first substance that they tried in most cases, is a cigarette butt. That’s where the habit started,” she pointed out.

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