Smoking Among Youth Reaches Epidemic Proportions

by WHIZ Reporter on March 9, 2012 at 6:00 am

A new report said smoking among America’s youth has reached epidemic proportions.

According to the U.S. Surgeon General’s Office report, more than 600,000 middle school students and over 3-million high school students nation-wide smoke.

Zanesville-Muskingum County Heath Department Medical Director, Dr. Vicki Whitacre said smoking before the brain is fully developed can cause severe medical problems in the future.

"Children model after their parents and after adults, plus there is a lot of peer pressure, and a lot of advertising for them to smoke," said Whitacre.

The Surgeon General’s report also said every day, an estimated 3,800 kids will pick up their first cigarette.

"The younger you start smoking, the more damage you’re going to do to your lungs. You’re also going to affect your brain pathways. You’re brain is growing and developing until you’re 25 or 26, and you need to think about what you’re doing to yourself when you use addictive-type substances," added Whitacre.

The report stated the more than 1,200 people die from tobacco-related ailments every day in the United States.