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That Really Stinks!
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My neighbor recently told me she is going to quit smoking—again. This is the third time (or is it the fourth?) since we’ve lived next door to each other that she’s quit. Starting to quit isn’t the problem—it’s STAYING quit that is enormously hard. Some people say kicking the tobacco habit is worse than stopping cocaine use.

For 20 years my neighbor has smoked. She has a racking cough, yellow teeth, and frazzled nerves. Her house reeks of smoke; so does her vehicle. Sadly, so does her little girl when she comes over to our house to play. Jasmine’s clothes and hair are saturated with the foul odor. She coughs, too, and her voice is always husky.
“Jasmine won’t smoke,” my neighbor assures me between coughs. “I told her a hundred times—don’t smoke.” Unfortunately, statistics show that children of smokers are more likely to smoke than kids whose parents don’t. And the number of adolescents who choose to smoke is rising at an alarming rate. 

So Why Do They Start?
Every day over 4,000 kids in the U.S. between the ages of 14-17 start smoking. They know it is bad for them. Many even know that tobacco use is the largest preventable cause of disease and death in the U.S. So why do they start?

Some are just curious. Others like the idea of doing something dangerous—something they know their parents or other adults wouldn’t want them to do. Still others do it because they think it’s a cool way to act like an adult.

When you look at the facts, smoking is a big rip off. The average pack of cigarettes costs four bucks. That means if you buy one pack a week, you’ll spend $208 a year. Many people smoke a pack a day, which adds up to $1,460 in a year. (That’s a lot of CD’s, games, and clothes!) And what do you get in return? Bad breath, stained teeth, smelly clothes, difficulty keeping up with friends when you play sports, and an empty wallet!

If you’re thinking about trying tobacco (in any form), be smart; don’t do it. And if you have a friend who is smoking, encourage him/her to quit before any more damage is done. Remind your friend of all the negative things about using tobacco, along with the fact that it is illegal to buy it if you’re underage.

If your friend won’t listen, express your concerns to a parent or school counselor. True friends always want what’s best for the other. And that’s a fact that doesn’t stink!

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By Brenda Forbes Dickerson. Copyright © 2012 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. 

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