Yesterday I was standing in my kitchen snacking on some sunflower seeds while watching the Mets vs. Yankees game and I looked out of my sliding glass door and saw some kids hanging out across the street. These kids have been hanging out under the tree for as long as I’ve lived here, about 3 years, so it’s nothing strange but then I noticed something that looked like a cigarette in their hands.
I watched and waited to see what it was and sure enough, they took a drag and blew out smoke. It was a cigarette. 🙁
These kids probably aren’t any older than 15 or 16. I started smoking at around that same age, but it still surprises me when I see someone that young already starting on such an addictive, destructive and completely pointless bad habit.
According to studies, more than 3,900 kids ages 12-19 become regular smokers every day. That’s a huge number! But you know what? Only about 1 in 16 middle school students and 1 in 5 high school students start smoking and the number of kids who start smoking decreases every year.
This is great, because it shows that we’re making great progress in preventing tobacco addiction. What all of us are doing to prevent underage smoking – educating children, being non-smoking role models, and continuously fighting the tobacco companies – works!
Lots of kids are curious to see what a cigarette is like. That’s how I started. In some cases, kids might sneak a smoke, decide that they don’t like it and never smoke again. I hope the kids in my photo make the smart decision.