Friday, December 15, 2006

RM November 30 - Teens and smoking

THE news that teenagers are spending on average €40 a week on cigarettes is surely a shock for many parents. But the most alarming statistic for me was the fact that 90 per cent of young people are not asked for ID when they buy cigarettes from a shop.

What is going there? Are shops turning a blind eye and putting profit before their legal and moral duties?

The survey was carried out by the Office of Tobacco Control and should signal a serious clamp down on shops purveying cigarettes to young people with no thought to the damage they are doing.

And lets be honest the law on the legal age for buying cigarettes is there to protect young people from themselves as much as anything.

The full force of the law should be thrown at shops who make no effort to ascertain the age of the young person buying cigarettes. In fact the Gardai should organise a sting operation by recruiting young people to attempt to buy cigarettes and if they are not asked for ID and are underage, then the shop should be prosecuted with heavy fines.

A couple of such operations would send out a clear message.

Of course those young people determined to smoke can use the age-old method of asking someone older to buy cigarettes for them.

There isn’t much we can do about that, I can only hope that as many people refuse point blank as will oblige.

Not long ago I was in Liffey Valley and at the time I had my own dealings with young people and smoking when I caught the Young Wan experimenting.

Having big discussions, punishments at home with her over this I was dismayed by her ability to buy cigarettes.

So when a boy of about 10 or 11 years old (maybe he was older and his growth was stunted by smoking) approached me in the shopping centre and asked me to buy him some, he got the most withering look from me before I told him in no uncertain terms there was no way I would buy him cigarettes.

I have threatened herself with putting posters of herself around the area where we live telling people she is only 14 and not to buy her cigarettes. I have also threatened to march her to all the shops around us and inform them she is 14 and if they sell her cigarettes I will call the Gardai.
You would think the embarrassment of your ma bringing you into a shop, parading you to all the staff while saying ‘this child is 14, a child, do not sell her cigarettes’.

Apparently she won’t do it again but until I trust her there will be no pocket money. I cannot allow her to reach her early 20s and to have been smoking for nearly a decade, it is a repulsive thought.

I sincerely wish my efforts as a parent were backed up properly by the laws that are in place to prevent her smoking and I wish those eejits who think it is okay to buy a child cigarettes would stop.

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4 comments:

Beccy said...

I totally agree with you.

I'd like to know where these teenagers are getting their €40 a week to spend on cigarettes? My 13 year old gets €20 a month so can't afford to take up the habbit. Fortunately he's anti smoking at the moment, long may that last. I'm dreading the younger two reaching teenagedom as they lack his individuality and are more likely to succumb to peer pressure.

Peggy said...

Nice posts (I've scrolled down to read many and loved them...) shall be visiting again...but as to teen smoking, hear hear! My daughter who is 9 (!) has been offered a smoke already by a classmate...needless to say I was shocked beyond belief and hope with fingers crossed she will stay smoke-free for as long as she breathes...

Anonymous said...

|I doubt most of the immigrants behind the counter are aware of any regulations and the owners are only interested in the cash flow

Red Mum said...

Beccy I thought that too about the amount of money teens seem to have. My daughter is too young to work part time and the only money she gets is what I give her and it is certainly far from that.

Peggy, thanks for the compliment :) It is dreadful that a nine year old has already been offered cigs. Fingers crossed she is never tempted.