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Task force recommends doctors get involved to stop teen smoking

8:25 PM, Aug 26, 2013   |    comments
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Thousands of children start smoking every day in the U.S. Now, a national task force is recommending doctors get involved to try to prevent kids from picking up the habit.

Seventeen-year-old Demarish Salazar started smoking last year. She knows it isn't good for her.

"We talk about it and my mom tells me too. And I will feel bad and I just want to be healthy and not a smoker," says Demarish.

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.

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

Recent studies show intervening early can help lower the chances that a young person will start smoking by almost 20 percent.

With 1,000 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," says Dr. Sessions with the William F. Ryan Community Center.

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," she says.

"They don't listen to their parents, they got to at least listen to a doctor," says Damaris Rivera, Demarish's mother.

This mom hopes her daughter gets the message and stops lighting up for good.