Saturday, June 5, 2010

Smoking and Drinking of Korean Youth

Since we are going to smoke and drink, what is wrong with starting early?"
"I know it is not something good, but it's not something that takes effect immediately."
"Smoking one cigarette--does that make one a delinquent?
" I am thinking of stopping smoking, but there is no problem with drinking is there?"

Just some of the thoughts about smoking and drinking from adolescents written up recently in the Catholic Times. It was evident to the writer that they understood the problem with narcotics but considered smoking and drinking differently.

According to a survey made online, about 25% of teenagers drink, with little differences between the sexes. The percentage of those that smoke will be lower, about 13%; of this number 16.8% are male and 8.2% are female. Korean teenagers start smoking earlier than in the past and many start around the 13th year. Grammar school is no longer a safe haven. The writer believes adults are not sufficiently familiar with the problem.

In addition to the ever present peer pressure, the younger generation is exposed to more virtual reality than previous generations. They are influenced, and habits formed by an almost constant stream of risky behaviors that are routinely depicted in the mass media.

There is a general unconcern about the ill effects of alcohol and tobacco, the evidence clearly shows there is a higher percentage of delinquency and crime among drinkers and smokers, and, when depressed, youngsters who drink have a higher rate of suicide. And sexual experimentation, with its attendant problems for the young, has also been shown to be connected to alcohol and tobacco use. The sad truth is that there are good reasons to be concerned about this growing habit among our adolescents.

Society, according to the Catholic Times article, must accept some of the blame for this worsening condition. Adults are too tolerant of smoking and drinking by the young. Those under 19 are not to be sold cigarettes or alcohol but this is very loosely followed. They will always find a place where they can buy what they want.

And we must not forget, in this effort to help our young people kick the habit of dependence on drink and tobacco, the important part played by the movement for life.

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