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Editorials
September 14, 1964

CHILDISH HABIT

JAMA. 1964;189(11):850. doi:10.1001/jama.1964.03070110052014
Abstract

Although specific causal agents have not been i. identified, it would seem prudent at this time to advocate discontinuation of cigarette smoking as an effective way of preventing the development of pulmonary diseases and coronary artery disease. However, such a proposal is not easily implemented, since confirmed smokers seldom stop. Almost certainly, reduction or elimination of cigarette smoking can be achieved only if today's nonsmokers never start. Since most smokers begin before age 20, this means that efforts must be directed toward adolescents or even younger children.

An estimated 4,500 teenagers in the United States commence cigarette smoking every day, and about 40% of high school seniors are regular smokers. It seems most unlikely that these practices will change unless an active effort is made to change them. Efforts to date have not been fruitful. Whereas teenagers generally accept that cigarette smoking is a serious health hazard, the danger is

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