Increased incidence of smoking, alcohol & drugs abuse in children
INCREASED INCIDENCE OF SMOKING, ALCOHOL & DRUGS ABUSE IN CHILDRENNow a day’s smoking, alcohol and drug use is very common among teenagers and young peoplein their twenties. Most school going children do have some knowledge about smoking and atleast a third of children will have already tried smoking by the age of 11 years. Most schools arenow required to provide drug education and teach children about the dangers of drug use,alcohol and smoking.Young children are greatly influenced by older siblings, friends and parents who are regularsmokers. Initially child use these products as a new experiment but Children who smoke orwho are exposed to second hand tobacco smoke become six times more susceptible to colds,wheezing, increased phlegm and shortness of breath.If your child is using drugs regularly, you may be able to see signs in his behavior. He mightbecome moody; lose interest in school and friends. You might pick up unusual smells comingfrom him or might notice that items of clothing and money beginning to disappear.The Effects of Alcohol Abuse • Distorted vision, hearing, and coordination • altered perceptions and emotions • impaired judgment, which can lead to accidents, drowning and drug use • cirrhosis and cancer of the liver • loss of appetite • serious vitamin deficiencies • stomach ailments • heart and central nervous system damage • memory lossThe health risks of tobacco are well known, but kids and teens continue to smoke and usechewing tobacco. 90% of all adult smokers started when they were kids. Its important to makesure kids understand the dangers of tobacco use. Smoking and alcohol are the leading cause ofpreventable deaths.The Effects of Tobacco Abuse • Coughing • Throat irritation • Increases in heart rate and blood pressure • Bronchitis, emphysema • Cancers- oral, lung, colon etc • Cardiovascular disease- heart attacks, hypertension eEstablish a good foundation of communication with your kids early on to make it easier to workthrough tricky issues like tobacco use. More than a third of all kids who ever try smoking acigarette become regular, daily smokers.
Signs and Symptoms • Negative changes in schoolwork; missing school or declining grades; • Increased secrecy, Use of room deodorant or perfume to hide smoke or odors; • Subtle changes in conversations with friends, using “coded” language • New friends • Change in clothing choices • Increase in borrowing money • Bottles of eye drops, which may be used to mask bloodshot eyes or dilated pupils • Use of mouthwash or breath mints to cover up the smell of alcoholHow to handle this situation Parents Are the Most Important Influence in a Child’s Life. Be involved in your childs life andget to know who his friends are. Show interest in what music he likes and what movies heenjoys watching. During your time together listen to your childs views on smoking and druguse. Use this as an opportunity to educate him about the dangers of smoking, alcohol and druguse. Ask your child if there is someone they trust or feel comfortable talking to.It may also help to talk to other parents who have experienced what you are going through.Research shows that parents are central to preventing teen drug use. Kids themselves say thatlosing their parents’ trust and respect are the most important reasons not to use smoking andalcohol. When you suspect, or know, that your child has been drinking or using drugs, takeaction to stop it as soon as you can. It may be the most important step you ever take. Soonerrather than later is always the best. Get to know your kid’s friends and their parents. You may want to get them involved in newactivities that will keep them busy and help them meet new people. Contact someone at yourchild’s school. Remember that your child needs your continuing help and support to workthrough this difficult phase in his life. Dr. Ravi Malik M.B.B.S., M.D. (Paed) Sr. Child Specialist Convener Medical Education, IMA-National Asstt Secretery General, IMA-National