How a 13-year-old girl becomes vulnerable to cigarette addiction

Do you know how a 13-year-old girl could become addicted to cigarettes? Internationally acclaimed author and speaker Jean Kilbourne, EdD explains this fascinating topic.
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How a 13-year-old girl becomes vulnerable to cigarette addiction

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Recent research has found that heavy smokers are about four times more likely than normal to have a history of major depression and what this means is that it's our most vulnerable children who are at risk. Kids who are depressed, kids who are being abused, kids who are in foster system, kids who are mentally ill, are far more likely to be smokers. When I learned this, this shed light for me on my own smoking history. I started smoking when I was 13. Now, I started at a time when there were no warning labels, there was no health information and over 50% of adults smoked. So it was in that climate that I started to smoke. But also, when I was nine, my mother died. I was depressed when I was 13, although in those days, there was no language to describe it, there was nothing like grief counseling or anything like that, and I used cigarettes as a way to medicate myself, not consciously, but not stupidly either, because the truth is that nicotine does work to numb feelings. And now that we know this and know this about children, it's so important, when we see a child smoking, to find out what is going on in that child's life.
TEEN, Substance Use, Tobacco Use

Do you know how a 13-year-old girl could become addicted to cigarettes? Internationally acclaimed author and speaker Jean Kilbourne, EdD explains this fascinating topic.

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Jean Kilbourne, EdD

Author & Social Theorist

Jean Kilbourne is internationally recognized for her groundbreaking work on the image of women in advertising and her critical studies of alcohol and tobacco advertising. Her films, lectures, and television appearances have been seen by millions of people throughout the world. She was named by The New York Times Magazine as one of the three most popular speakers on college campuses.

She is the author of the award-winning book Can’t Buy My Love: How Advertising Changes the Way We Think and Feel and So Sexy So Soon: The New Sexualized Childhood and What Parents Can Do to Protect Their Kids. The prize-winning films based on her lectures include Killing Us Softly, Spin the Bottle, and Slim Hopes. She is a frequent guest on radio and television programs, including “The Today Show” and “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” She has served as an advisor to the Surgeon General and has testified for the U.S. Congress. She holds an honorary position as Senior Scholar at the Wellesley Centers for Women.

According to Susan Faludi, “Jean Kilbourne’s work is pioneering and crucial to the dialogue of one of the most underexplored, yet most powerful, realms of American culture —advertising. We owe her a great debt.” A member of the Italian Parliament said, “Hearing Jean Kilbourne is a profound experience. Audiences leave her feeling that they have heard much more than another lecture, for she teaches them to see themselves and their world differently.”

She has received many awards, including the Lecturer of the Year award from the National Association for Campus Activities. A more unusual tribute was paid when an all-female rock group in Canada named itself Kilbourne in her honor.

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