Editorial: Broad effort needed to reduce teen smoking

Nearly one in every five teenagers finishes high school as a smoker, but reducing that number could be as simple as talking with a doctor.

That is the conclusion of the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force, which published new recommendations last month in two medical journals. The report says that minimal interventions, such as a medical office sending a series of prevention guides to parents and kids, could make a difference.

Stopping children from ever smoking could have a huge impact, the panel says. Smoking kills about 443,000 people a year in the United States, and 90 percent of smokers start before age 18.

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