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Popular Kids Still Smoke Cigarettes

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Nicholas Wills5 years ago

A new study, published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, suggests that being popular and smoking cigarettes still go hand in hand.

The Popular Kids Still Smoke

According to study author Thomas Valente, “Popularity is a strong predictor of smoking.” Valente is a professor of preventive medicine at the University of Southern California's Keck School of Medicine.

We haven't done enough to make it cool not to smoke,” study author.

The new study found that the most popular kids in seven predominantly Hispanic/Latino high schools in southern California were more likely to smoke cigarettes than were other students, U.S. News & World Report stated.  The more popular the student, the more likely they were to smoke early in life.

In addition, Dr. Norman Edelman – chief medical officer for the American Lung Association and a professor of preventive medicine at Stony Brook University, in New York – said that popularity was the big risk factor for smoking.

Smoking Statistics

According to the American Lung Association,

  • 68 percent of adult smokers started at age 18 or younger.
  • Every day, almost 3,900 children under 18 try their first cigarette.
  • People who start smoking in adolescence are more likely to develop a severe addiction to nicotine than are those who start later in life.
Suggestions to Help Kids Not Smoke

Valente said that kids need to be told that the tobacco industry is manipulating them to smoke, “since teenagers don't like to be manipulated.” Also, research shows it is effective to recruit popular kids to discuss why smoking is not cool. On the other hand, Edelman, speaking on kids’ risky behavior stemming from their perception of self-invulnerability, said that the solution is financial: raise the price of cigarettes.

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