Terrorists Among Us

I know that smoking is a topic that some people may find boring and over-discussed, but I am very concerned about it, and as I have mentioned many times, the smoking rates in this country continue to scare me. But even more unsettling, is that the people who risk the most to puff away - like teenagers and pregnant women - continue to be a problem.

Let me give you two personal examples that I experienced just this week. My son is on his summer break, waiting to go to camp - and like any good father should - I allow him to enjoy his free time with his teenage friends. Now, I know you all have heard how I spend a good portion of my week checking up on my teenage son, because it's something I'm very vocal about. Not because he's a bad kid, but because I just don't trust teenagers. And in this fast-moving world, believe you me, you don't need to be a helicopter parent, you need to be a submarine parent.

The other day, as I was picking up my son and his two buddies, I noticed one of his friends had a bulge in his pocket that looked just like a pack of cigarettes. So I confronted the teenager, who confirmed my suspicions. I asked him "Where did you get those from?" and he told me that he had asked an adult going into a convenient store to please buy them for him, and this adult did just that.

After giving the kid and my son a piece of my mind the good old fashioned way, I proceeded to go to the convenient store to have a conversation with the manager. I told him of the terrible crime that was being committed, and even though he acknowledged that he would never sell cigarettes to minors, was not as receptive to the fact that teens were using adults as mules to foster their nicotine habits at his store.

Another example is something that's happening in my medical practice. Just this week, I saw another pregnant patient who smokes a pack of cigarettes a day. This is something that is very dangerous, and despite the fact that we have a full counseling service for pregnant women, many of them still fail to understand the risks they are taking which include anything from premature delivery, low birth weight and permanent fetal damage.

My point is, teenagers and unborn children alike are feeling the affects of adults making poor choices. I'm getting to the point that if the stupidity continues in our adult population, I will have no other choice but to support mandatory drug testing. Parents have to wake up because ignorance and turning a blind eye to this issue are not excuses. The philosophy that people have to learn from their own mistakes is utter garbage in this instance - especially when it comes to the health of children.

So again, I'm going to remind everybody to become vigilant in their own homes and their own communities, because we have terrorists among us.