TO my surprise, the old science-fiction classic "Journey to the Center of the Earth" was on TV recently, and I had the chance to watch it with two 13-year-old girls - my daughter, Becky, and her friend Melissa. As a young teenage boy when the movie first came out in 1959, I had been singularly impressed: adventure, romance, dazzling special effects - what more could a kid want? The excitement of climbing into a volcano to reach the earth's magnetic core and being threatened by villains, natural disasters , and a slew of scaly monsters had me believing that I, too, would one day pursue a life of science and exploration.
I find I'm watching the movie with three sets of eyes: as an impressionable teenager way back when, elbowing my friends in the front row of a darkened theater; as my adult self comfortably seated before an ample-sized color TV screen; and as a 1990s teen - my daughter and her friend. Despite the movie's obvious shortcomings, it's easy for me to understand its impact on me as a child. At the very least it fed my imagination, made me want to strike out on my own, discover new worlds, test my mettle. In the
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"The decline in teen smoking seems to be about over," says Lloyd Johnston, a social psychologist at the University of Michigan, who has surveyed middle- and high-schoolers about tobacco, alcohol and drugs for 32 years. "We didn't see any decline in daily smoking among the eighth-graders this year, and they're usually the first to show changes in direction. And the declines have decelerated considerably in 10th and 12th grade as well."
Johnston says that a lot of the things that helped decrease teen smoking in the late '90s and early 2000s have changed. Some states have pulled back funding for anti-smoking ad campaigns, and a national effort, initially funded with tobacco settlement money, has had its budget cut.
"One of the interesting things that we found is that a proportion of teenagers today who say they would prefer to date someone who doesn't smoke is up to around 75 percent with both genders," Johnston says. "And, so, if a young person decides to smoke, they are by definition making themselves less attractive to three-fourths of the opposite sex, and that's a large social price to pay." 041b061a72