According to the most recent data(1), in 2013, 48,000 high school students reported having smoked a tobacco product in the past 30 days. Of this number, several claimed to have tried to quit, without success.
Despite all the awareness campaigns and the various legislative measures taken to carry out counter-marketing (advertising campaigns against smoking, high price of the product, minimum age to buy it, display prohibited in points of sale, etc..), the proportion of young people who use tobacco is 14.6% among students in 3e secondary and 23% among students in 5esecondary.
Statistics that may seem frightening and yet are quite encouraging. This is what Mrs. Pascale Bergeron, scientific advisor to the Institut National de Santé Publique du Québec explains to us: "In 1998, 33% of adolescents smoked, whereas in 2008, it was 22% of teenagers who smoked. Between 1998 and 2013, the proportion of secondary school students who smoked in the last 30 days fell from 33% to 12%, which represents a decreaseimportant.”.
Addiction comes long before the 100e cigarette
The average age of the first cigarette smoked is 13 years old and one in five teenagers who smoke every week experiences one or more symptoms of addiction. “That is to say, explains Ms. Bergeron, that in 2013, around 19% of students who had smoked in the last 30 days considered themselves fairly or very dependent. What is worrying is that even if the symptoms of addiction appear well before having smoked 100 cigarettes for life, barely 6% of students believe that the risk of becoming dependent is high if one smokes cigarettes. from time to time.
- Nicotine cravings
- Irritability, frustration or anger
- Concentration problems
- Sleep Disorders
- Increased appetite
Significant negative effects
Tobacco smoke contains more than 7000 harmful substances, 70 of which are considered carcinogenic. The earlier a smoker quits smoking, the more he reduces the risks to his he alth. "While nicotine poses little risk for an adult, explains the specialist, recent studies suggest that exposure during adolescence could harm brain development". In young people who have lung or respiratory problems, for example asthma, tobacco use can exacerbate theirbreathing difficulties.
Tips for Quitting Smoking
Whether at 13 or 70, quitting smoking is not an easy task since the nicotine in cigarettes is highly addictive. “In fact, says the scientific adviser, it is comparable to that created by drugs like heroin. Your teenager, if he wants to quit smoking and find a better lifestyle, will undoubtedly need support.
To help their child help themselves, parents can consult the I'm quitting portal, a web platform that supports people who want to quit smoking as well as those around them. Parents can also call the J’Arrête support line (1-866-J’ARRETE 527-7383).
“You have to take into consideration that quitting smoking in an adolescent has its own particularities, says Ms. Bergeron, particularly with regard to the use of pharmacological aid. » A doctor or other he althcare professional, such as a school nurse, should also be consulted.
The Vaper Trap
The electronic cigarette, or vaporizer, might seem like an interesting alternative to teenagers. However, this is a very bad idea. “The electronic cigarette allows you to obtain the nicotine on which smokers are dependent, explains Ms. Bergeron, without exposing yourself to the toxic substances emitted by the combustion of tobacco. On the other hand, it exposes the user to low levels of substancesharmful and not without risk. »
Recent studies suggest that among young people, e-cigarette use may act as a gateway to the use of tobacco products. It is therefore not recommended for young people and non-smokers to use it.
Prevention therefore remains the best cure. To prevent young people from going from experimentation to the status of regular smoker, it is advisable to consult the sites of government partner organizations that specialize in the prevention of smoking among young people, such as Québec sans tabac and Smoking is disgusting.
source: Smoking cessation among students in Quebec and the rest ofCanada: 2014-2015 – Institut National de Santé Publique du Québec.