Friday, August 10, 2007


Addiction in 6th graders

My son began smoking in adolescence, so a recent article in Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, 2007;161:704-710 didn't surprise me.
    10% of children had cravings for nicotine within 2 days of the first inhalation of cigarette smoke

    More than 70% of the inhalers had cravings before they were smoking every day

    "Results: Among the 217 inhalers, 127 lost autonomy over their tobacco use, 10% having done so within 2 days and 25% having done so within 30 days of first inhaling from a cigarette; half had lost autonomy by the time they were smoking 7 cigarettes per month. Among the 83 inhalers who developed ICD-10–defined dependence, half had done so by the time they were smoking 46 cigarettes per month. At the interview following the onset of ICD-10–defined dependence, the median salivary cotinine concentration of current smokers was 5.35 ng/mL, a level that falls well below the cutoff used to distinguish active from passive smokers."
"Lost autonomy"--interesting phrase, isn't it? He told me one time that he believes he was "hooked" after the first cigarette--sometime around 13 or 14. If you are a smoker, chances are your kids will be too, but it doesn't always work that way. My husband's parents were both chain smokers. Neither he nor his sister liked it and didn't smoke; another brother did. This means he had inhaled the equivalent of 102 packs of cigarettes by the time he was 5 years old. My father smoked until I was about 9, but my sisters and I didn't. Neither my husband nor I smoke, but our son can't break the habit.

I really shudder when I see teens smoking; we were walking behind a group the other night along the lakefront--the oldest being about 16. They just have no idea of the cost and health problems heading their way. They might as well be setting dollar bills on fire and tossing them into Lake Erie.

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