The number of adolescent women around 13 years old starting up smoking tobacco is a major concern because with it comes the heightened risk of developing médium and long term health problems, informed health expert Olga Patricia García Pérez.
The sub-head of Social Work of the Regional General Hospital (HGR) 180 of the Mexican Institute of Social Security (IMSS) in Jalisco, said that during the last decade the number of women who have their first contact with tobacco has increased.
She cited that in 2002 for example, the incidence stood at 3.8 percent but by 2011 it had risen to 8.1 percent, according to studies conducted by the Epidemiological Research Unit and Adolescent Health Services (UIESSA) of the IMSS in Jalisco.
She said that a group of first year high school students was taken as a study sample, and along with other specialists, García Pérez found that internal influencers or factors associated with personality such as self-esteem and impulsiveness, and external factors related to the school and family environment were the underlying causes.
García Pérez indicated that the act of smoking gives adolescents a certain idea of power and belonging, and even “glamour” when consuming a tobacco in front of their social group.
According to the IMSS Jalisco study, the researcher stated that parents’ monitoring of their children’s daily activities helps to some extent, but in case of addiction, it is necessary to seek specialized help.
“Regarding the school variables, we observed that the kids that study in the afternoon program reflected a greater concentration of smokers, which correlated to a lower school average and a higher proportion of irregular students. It seems to indicate that smoking affects school trajectory,” she said.