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Young French teenagers smoking


Kitty

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I have just come back from a school governors' meeting (in France).  The Head reported to us that 18 out of the 23 pupils in 4eme (13/14/year olds) smoke [:(] and that, on the whole, it is the parents that are paying for their cigarettes.  [8-)]

I can't think that the percentage in the UK would be so high - not amongst those so young.  Is this right?

Smoking seems embedded into the culture - at least where I live.

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I have just got back after 2 days as a benevole surveillant for a class of 14 year old lycéens (Lycée Proffessional) where we cycled two days, stayed overnight in a camp site, went horse riding and visited a WW1 memorial.

These kids come from some really deprived backgrounds in the Nord Pas de Calais and several of them are under the care of educational physchologists/physchiatrists, by far the hardest thing for them to endure was the blanket ban on cigarettes and mobile phones during the trip, on arriving back at the Lycée this afternoon most of them just dropped the bikes and went straight out the gate for a clop.

At lunch time I heard several of them discussing how their parents either buy their fags or give them their own.

I reckon the percentage is even higher than the (roughly) 80% there.

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Much as when I was young, the more adults tell you not to do something, the more you want to do it - It's certainly why I started. I nicked my parents' ciggies, Chance, they never gave me any!

The anti-smoking lobby is even more self-righteous today than it was forty five years ago when I started so this doesn't suprise me in the least, Cathy.

I haven't smoked now for a couple of years but no way am I going to turn into one of those holier than thou types who bangs on about smoking as if it's the worst evil on the planet - I'm certain as a lapsed smoker that it does nothing to persuade people to stop - it just makes them dig their heals in even more.  How we persuade young people to stop (or preferably never to start) I don't know, especially those who have tough enough lives already and for whom it is one of the few real pleasures in life.  Better than crack and less behaviour altering than alcolhol, at least.

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I live surrounded by very special Parisian Daddy's boys and girls (the type to carry around 1000 euro+ handbags, and expensive clothing, blackberries etc. etc.), and frequently see these young teenagers 14 or 15 years old, smoking and trying to look cool. Obviously smoking doesn't relate to a class background, so I think it's more of a cultural French thing.

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