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Dr. Fred Piaser

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SMOKING   When many people think of tobacco-related health problems, they think only of adults. Yet, research now shows this is not always the case. Children and adolescents also suffer from tobacco-related health problem. Parents need to review the facts about tobacco use and how it involves every member of the family: the infant and young child, the teenager, and the adult tobacco user.

Infants and Children As parents, you would not knowingly harm your children. Yet, compared to infants and children whose parents do not smoke, children of smokers have a much higher risk of: pneumonia bronchitis asthma middle ear effusion. Children of smokers also cough and wheeze more, and have a harder time getting over colds. Tests of smokersí children show decreased rates in growth of lung function compared to non smokerí children. There is no question that passive smoking is a serious health threat to children.

Teenagers are easily swayed when it comes to social pressure. This includes slick advertising campaigns designed to change their behavior. In this country, 800 million dollars a year is spent to promote tobacco products. Most of these ads are aimed at teenagers. No wonder 90 percent of all smokers begin the habit during their teens. Over the past 10 years, the number of smokers has decreased in every age group except teenagers. In this group, the number of young women smokers has increased. The tobacco companies hope to regain lost profits from declining sales to adults.

Tobacco ads suggest that those who smoke become attractive and worldly.
What the teenage smoker really gets is:
addiction to nicotine
bad breath
stained teeth
long-term cough
faster heart rate
decreased lung function
increased blood pressure
decreased athletic ability
increased risk of lung cancer, emphysema and heart attacks as adults.

Fighting the influence of the tobacco companies is a tough task. Doctors and parents need to provide teenagers with the facts and a true picture of the effects of smoking. This will help teenagers to decide not to smoke.

Adult Tobacco Users Inhaling tobacco smoke is the largest single preventable cause of death and disability in the United States. The facts are sad and serious.Most adult smokers are aware of the ill effects of smoking. Many would like to break the habit. Those who would like to be non-smokers need to consider the following data:

- in this country, 350,000 deaths occur each year from tobacco use. One-third of all deaths from cancer and heart disease are from tobacco. Three-fourths of the deaths from chronic lung disease are related to tobacco.
- a woman who smokes 25 cigarettes daily increases her chances of having a heart attack 500 times more than a nonsmoker. Smoking even 1-4 cigarettes a day doubles the risk of heart problems.
-The non smoking spouse of a smoker has a 30 percent greater risk of lung cancer. This risk alone accounts for 2,000 deaths a year.
- Teenagers whose parents smoke are twice as likely to start smoking as nonsmokersí children .
- in 1964, 55 percent of adult Americans smoked cigarettes. In 1985, less than 30 percent of adults smoked. This shows that thousands of Americans have found a way to stop smoking. By doing so, they will live longer, feel better, and improve the health of their families.

The hazards of smoking do not have to be permanent. In a study done at Harvard, ex-smokers had the same number of cardiovascular disease risks as those who had never smoked. Break The Habit! Smokers -- Quit Now and Clear Your Lungs Would you like to join the growing numbers who have quit tobacco addiction? Have you tried in the past and failed, but would now like to try again? Ask me for help. I may be just the person to help you find a sound stop-smoking program.

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