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PLATFORM : This Teen Won’t Quit

<i> MARK SULLIVAN, 17, who lives in Costa Mesa and says that he has been smoking since he was 10, commented on a program in his city that would encourage teens to give up cigarettes in order to be more marketable for jobs. He told The Times:</i>

I really don’t understand what difference it makes if I smoke or if I don’t when looking for a job. If it’s an attempt to get me to stop smoking by dangling a carrot in front of me for an award, like some kind of lab rat, you can keep that.

I know smoking is a disgusting habit. And I understand fully what the consequences will be for my body and for those around me who breathe the secondary smoke. But I especially don’t need some adult, who probably smoked when they were my age, advising me on the evils of smoking.

If the city is really trying to get teens to stop smoking, then how about regulating the vending machines a little more? Or, better yet, ban cigarettes altogether. Come on. Let’s see how serious the city is in its concern for America’s youth. But do you think that would ever happen?

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If the city wants to find me a job, great. But leave me to deal with my own habits and vices.


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