Today, smoking is no longer an adult habit. There have been many small children and teenagers who also joined in smoking. Dr. Theresia Sandra Diah Ratih, MHA, as the Head of Sub Directorate General of P2PTM Ministry of Health of the Republic of Indonesia explained that the number of Indonesian children and adolescents who smoke actively is increasing.
Dr. Sandra further said that the number of children and adolescents who became active smokers doubled from 24.2 percent in 2001 to more than 54 percent in 2016. The latest data from Riskesdas in 2013 showed that Jakarta, Bogor and Mataram were the three locations in Indonesia which has the most active population of smokers of children (over the age of 10 years).
The increasing number of children and adolescents who smoke from year to year proves that there are still very few Indonesian children who are aware of the dangers of actual smoking on health. So, what causes children to smoke and how can we stop smoking?
Why do children smoke?
It is undeniable that when your surrounding friends smoke, chances are that your child will also try smoking too. He did this to feel more acceptable with the scope of his association, without thinking much about his body's health. Dr. Sandra then added, not infrequently children also tend to often start smoking after seeing their father smoke at home. Why?
The age of children and adolescents is a critical age, where the brain is going through the greatest changes during the child's developmental period. Major changes mainly occur in the frontal lobe of the brain located at the front of the head. The frontal lobe is responsible for the reasoning process when making decisions, forming personalities, and carrying out intellectual processes (thinking) and interactions. Simply put, the frontal lobe helps you to think logically and regulate behavior.
Unfortunately, parts of the brain are responsible for deciding which of these good and bad things are not fully mature until the child is in his twenties. That's why children and adolescents are a group of people who are most vulnerable to environmental influences, especially those who are not good. This is also what makes children and adolescents often desperate to do something that is risky and tends to be reckless, even dangerous, without thinking. Gradually, from the beginning, once tried, it became difficult to stop.
What are the dangers of smoking in children and adolescents?
You might be very familiar with the slogan "smoking can cause cancer, heart attack, impotence, disruption of pregnancy and the fetus". This warning certainly does not only apply to adults. This health risk can also approach children who smoke. There is no difference in risk of complications between child smokers and adult smokers.
Smokers who start small or start when they are older are both at risk for heart disease, respiratory tract, cancer, and diabetes. One of the most common diseases caused by smoking is lung cancer. However, almost all types of cancer can be caused by cigarettes.
"Whatever it is (complications from smoking), the risk will remain the same (at all ages)," said Dr. Sandra when met by the Hello Sehat team in Kuningan at the launch of the Young Health program Collaborative program between AstraZeneca and the Indonesian Ministry of Health, Tuesday (8/14).
Even so, he continued that the smaller the age (someone) when starting smoking, the more time and duration of exposure to cigarette poisons. So, the possibility of children being affected by smoking will occur faster than those who have just started smoking when they are adults. Basically, children and adolescents who smoke have worse health status than non-smokers.
In addition to the risk of chronic illness, smoking habits from a young age can also interfere with oral health. Smokers who start from the age of children will experience faster and more tartar, and infections of the gums and mouth. Children smoking can also cause muscle and bone problems, which will cause many problems later in their age.
Tips for quitting smoking
Quitting smoking isn't easy, but it doesn't mean it's impossible. Dr. Sandra emphasizes that the role of yourself and those around you can help you stop smoking.
Starting from the intention in yourself to stop smoking
Even though it sounds cliched, the intention and determination to quit smoking must come from yourself. Tell yourself to quit smoking and commit to that sentence.
You can start slowly by gradually reducing the number of cigarettes you usually spend. If you feel like smoking, you can replace it by chewing gum or eating kuaci.
At the beginning of the plan to stop smoking, keep your heart away from people who often smoke. This is the simplest and most effective smoking cessation strategy to reduce your desire to return to smoking again. Join friends who don't smoke than go with other smokers. Because if you remain surrounded by smokers, determination can be shaken at any time and it is increasingly difficult for you to start stopping.
Don't forget to keep busy with various activities that can cancel your intention to smoke. For example by taking extracurricular activities at school or sports club after school.
Parents' roles and the surrounding environment are also important
As a parent, you are a strong influence on the lives of children and adolescents. So, you also have to give an example that cigarettes really shouldn't be done by anyone. Ask what motivates him to smoke and give a clear understanding of the adverse effects of smoking on his health. Also provide an overview of diseases caused by smoking. Don't just prohibit children from smoking, without giving information as clearly as possible,
Besides that, Dr. Sandra revealed that there must be external pressure that makes children and teenagers want to do something to stop smoking. For example, by making strict rules that make children have no space or opportunity to smoke. For example, make an agreement with the child to determine a definite date where they have to stop smoking. After applying the rules there must be no cigarettes and cigarette smoke that goes into the house. Apply this rule evenly to all family members and guests who come to the house.
You can also reward children if they are able to stop smoking, which makes them more motivated to quit completely.
- People Smoking VS People Obesity: Who Has a Higher Risk of Death?
- Don't smoke, but take a sip of cigarette smoke from around? This is the danger of being Passive Smoker.
- Changes in the Body After You Quit Smoking