Shocking trend: Teen smoking is a major problem

The Surgeon General of the United States is very, very concerned about teen smoking. A new report that states nearly one in five high school-aged teens smokes, proving that the rate of decline has slowed down.

With more than 80 percent of smokers starting by age 18 and 99 percent of smokers starting by age 26, the Surgeon General is focusing her efforts on tacking this health crisis. But is tobacco marketing a major part of the problem? Some say it is.

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Surgeon General Regina Benjamin has told USA Today and The Associated Press about the major impact of the teen smoking problem revealed by the report:

The numbers are really shocking. It's a problem we have to solve. In order to end this epidemic, we need to focus on where we can prevent it and where we can see the most effect, and that's with young people. We want to make our next generation tobacco-free, and I think we can.

The report focuses on tobacco use, health impacts along with marketing and prevention efforts. It also recommends that anti-smoking campaigns increase and that the FDA increase restrictions and regular tobacco products more.

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I came from a home where my father smoked but gave it up when I was a teen. Unfortunately, he never talked to me about the dangers of smoking and I ended up becoming a social smoker in college. Although it's great that the Surgeon General is directing her efforts on preventing teens from lighting up so that future generations will grow up healthier, the first step starts with the parents. It always starts with the parents and, whether you smoke or not, you need to tell your kids about the risks of smoking before they mature and light up for themselves.

How will you prevent your teen from smoking?

Image via where are the kids your parents warned you about/flickr