Kids Know More than We think

United States
December 9, 2006 8:36pm CST
A new survey by Weekly Reader Research shows that 76 percent of 1,000 kids in fifth through ninth grades who were polled say they are choosing not to smoke. We bring this up because tomorrow, Nov. 16, is the 30th annual Great American Smokeout, the American Cancer Society's all-out effort to call attention to the health hazards of smoking. When many of today's adults were growing up, smoking added hefty points to a teen's "cool quotient." Kids also took pride in doing exactly what their parents told them not to do. You know who you are. Weekly Reader Research seems to indicate that the times, they are a-changin'. Forty-five percent of kids in the new poll said they don't smoke because "it's bad for me" while 40 percent said "I know it's not healthy." Twenty-one percent of the abstainers said they learned this lesson in school. But the bigger news is that 81 percent of them said that parents are the most influential persons in their decision to not smoke or use tobacco products. "The findings in this study will probably surprise some people," said Mike Fassino, director of Weekly Reader Research. "Contrary to what most people might believe, kids are listening to parents and teachers when it comes to the health consequences of smoking." Kids, it seems, take the ACS numbers more seriously than a lot of adults do. For example, in Wisconsin this year, 3,040 people will be diagnosed with lung cancer and 2,830 will die of the disease. Nearly 60 percent of those diagnosed with lung cancer die within one year of getting the bad news; nearly 75 percent die within two years. The kicker is that the ACS says that more than 80 percent of smokers puffed their first cigarettes before they turned 18 — the same ages as the kids in Weekly Reader Research's study. The research group is part of the Weekly Reader publications that go to 9 million students in kindergarten through 12th grade. The kids might not know these numbers, but the American Cancer Society says that: A man who smokes has a one in 13 chance of getting lung cancer; a woman who smokes has a one in 17 chance. Since 1987, more women have died each year of lung cancer than from breast cancer. And if money talks, here's a number to consider: Smoking-related medical costs totaled $75.5 billion in 1998. How many kids could go to college for that money? Ever had a child ask you to quit? Better listen, because that's one smart kid.
1 response
@lilaclady (28240)
• Australia
10 Dec 06
With kids though I think they are easily swayed by what ever friends they get with in early teenage years, I had a neice when she was very young tried everything to get her father to stop smoking but then in her teen years started herself, I think she thought she was pretty cool....