Seventeen year-old Demarish Salazar started smoking last year; she knows it isn't good for her. "We talk about -- my mom tells me too and I will feel bad and I just want to be
healthy and not a smoker," she said.
Each day, more than 3,800 children between the ages 12 and 17 pick up a cigarette for the first time. Now a national task force is recommending pediatricians and other doctors start tackling the issue with their young patients.
"Interventions they can be conversations, telephone counseling, video and written materials to youth and adolescents in their practices," said Dr. Sue Curry with the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.
Recent studies show intervening early can help lower the chances that a young person will start smoking by almost 20 percent.
With one thousand children under 18 becoming regular smokers each day, Dr. Jessica Sessions, with the William F. Ryan Community Center, says it's never too early to start telling kids tobacco can lead to cancer and heart disease. "We really try to hone in on the patient who isn't smoking yet, and really try to give them the message that smoking is dangerous," she said.
Demarish feels a warning from doctors might help. "I think a doctor can influence a teen but I think it's within themselves if they really want to smoke or not smoke," Salazar said.
"They don't listen to their parents, they got to at least listen to a doctor," said Salazar's mother, Damaris Rivera.
This mom hopes her daughter gets the message and stops lighting up for good.
Adriana Diaz - CBS News
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