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Teenage Smoking: Still Skeptics Out There?

The Toronto Sun

MATTER OF CONVENIENCE ; Study says teenage smoking linked to

corner stores but many remain skeptical

Tue Aug 2 2011

Page: 3

Section: News


Illustrations: photo by QMI Agency Photo Illustration

Teenage boys are more likely to light up if their

schools are located near a variety store that sells

cigarettes, according to a new study.

But many Torontonians are skeptical of the findings

in the University of Waterloo study.

"I don't think that has a lot to do with whether or not

our children take up smoking," Carol Swift said

recently. "I think if they're going to take up smoking,

they'll find a place (to buy cigarettes)."

Standing with her daughters Julia, 13, and Claire, 10

in front of a Mac's Milk store at Jarvis and Maitland

Sts. -- a corner that is typically teeming with teens

from nearby Jarvis Collegiate during the school

year--Swift said kids are more likely to light up if

they have smokers in their home or friends who puff


While that is something the study also determined to

be a contributing factor, it primarily focused on the

proximity of tobacco retailers to schools.

The study surveyed more than 35,000 students from

76 Ontario high schools, to determine how likely it is

that nonsmokers, occasional smokers and daily

smokers will have a nicotine habit in the future.

It concluded that young males who had never smoked

were slightly more likely to take up the habit if their

school was located within a one-kilometre radius of a

store that sold cigarettes.

And the odds of them becoming full-time smokers

increased if there was more than one store selling

cigarettes within walking distance of school, the

study found.

Female teenagers were unaffected by the proximity

of tobacco retailers to their school, according to the


Non-smokers Jill Dickieson, 20 and Andrea Lung,

19, said that having friends and family who smoke is

more of a factor than accessibility.

"Peer pressure and parents are big influences," Lung

said. "If I had an adult who smoked in my house, I'd

probably be a lot more interested or curious about

trying (smoking)."

The study suggests government should consider the

impact of tobacco retailers on students and "be

cautious when granting licences for establishments to

sell tobacco products."

But Dave Bryan, president of the Ontario

Convenience Stores Association, said small,

family-run businesses would be hit hard by such a


"Often run by new Canadians, these small businesses

would surely be forced to close their doors and the

illegal contraband cigarette market would remain to

flourish," he said.

Bryans said the study doesn't appear to have

considered "contraband" smokes, which are popular

among teenagers.

© 2011 Sun Media Corporation. All rights reserved.


Près de 16 millions d'Ontariennes et d'Ontariens ont signalé que de la fumée secondaire pénétrait chez eux depuis l'extérieur.
(Unité de recherche sur le tabac de l'Ontario, 2009)
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