By Briana Davis, Clinical Trials of Texas, Inc.
SAN ANTONIO - While U.S. smoking rates have been on continual decline for the past 40 years, childhood and adolescent smoking remains one of the most serious health threats facing young people today. In the U.S., nearly 3,900 children will try their first cigarette on any given day, and research indicates that over a quarter of these children will go on to become habitual daily smokers.
The long term dangers associated with tobacco use are well known, and it is still one of the leading preventable causes of death in the U.S. Children who smoke may experience a wide range of short-term side effects including coughing and throat irritation. Prolonged smoking can also lead to increased heart rates or blood pressure, as well bronchitis and emphysema.
Despite government efforts to reduce smoking in children and adolescents, many kids still turn to smoking for a multitude of reasons – weight loss, peer pressure, to feel cool or to exert independence. Research has shown that parents are the best defense against childhood smoking
At first, it may be difficult to determine if your son or daughter has started smoking. Warning signs may include smelling smoke on your child’s hair or clothes, an increased use of mouthwash or breath mints, frequent excuses to go outside, burn holes in your child’s clothing or carpet, or finding lighters or matches with your child’s belongings.
Many children and adolescents are hesitant to talk to their parents about smoking for fear of punishment. Establishing a good foundation for communication and taking an active role in your child’s daily life are the first steps towards preventing or correcting a smoking problem. If your son or daughter confides in you about smoking, it’s important to give him or her credit for honesty.
If your child has started smoking, you may want to encourage him or her to speak with a physician. The quitting process may take a long time and often will involve numerous relapses. Smoking cessation programs may be readily available in your community. If you are also a smoker, it’s important to lead by example and quit with your child.
Whether your son or daughter has just started smoking tobacco or has been smoking for several years, it’s never too late to start a conversation about quitting. Taking action today is essential to preventing serious health consequences in the future.
Clinical Trials of Texas, Inc. is currently conducting a research study for boys and girls 12-19 who want to quit smoking. The study is testing the safety and effectiveness of an investigational medication that is currently approved by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) for smoking cessation in adults.
If you would like to learn more about our study on childhood smoking, please call us at 210-949-0122 or visit us at SAresearch.com
. A stipend to cover the cost of time and travel is being offered to study participants.