Preventing Kids from Smoking - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Preventing Kids from Smoking

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Seventeen-year-old Demarish Salazar started smoking last year. She knows it isn't good for her.  "We talk about, my mom tells me too and I will feel bad and I just want to be healthy and not a smoker."

Each day, more than 3,800 children between ages 12 and 17 pick up a cigarette for the first time. Now a national task force is recommending pediatricians and other doctors start tackling the issue with their young patients.

Dr. Sue Curry is with the US Preventive Services Task Force. "Interventions they can be conversations, telephone counseling, video and written materials to youth and adolescents in their practices."

Recent studies show intervening early can help lower the chances that a young person will start smoking by almost 20 percent.  With one thousand children under 18 becoming regular smokers each day, Dr. Jessica Sessions says it's never too early to start telling kids tobacco can lead to cancer and heart disease.  "We really try to hone in on the patient who isn't smoking yet, and really try to give them the message that smoking is dangerous."

Demarish feels a warning from doctors might help.  "I think a doctor can influence a teen but I think it's within themselves if they really want to smoke or not smoke."

Written By Wendy Damonte
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