Security in the Modern-Day Church Environment

No one needs tell us that we no longer live in the same world our mothers and fathers grew up in. Violent acts happen every day in the United States, and for that matter in every country on earth. Many of us can remember the time when most churches didn’t even have locks on the doors, and counted on the decency of even thieves not to bother the church, it’s possessions, and even it’s members, at least while they were physically attending their place of worship. This is sadly no longer the case, as we are not safe, even, in our places of worship, however there are many things which can be done to ensure the safest environment possible in which to Worship God, fellowship, and spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

We as Christians are by nature very trusting of those of whom we don’t know, and this information is not being offered in a manner, in which to turn those of who may read it, from that most Christ-like trait. However it is offered in the hope that it may be helpful to church pastors and administrators, and aid them in formulating their own plans in which to address some of the issues we will discuss in this article.

Most churches that I know of don’t have an emergency plan (for anything). That’s right! No plan, or plans at all: no fire evacuation plan, no plan to deal with a surprise visit by violent protestors, no plan to deal with an emergency medical situation, and certainly no plan to deal with what is called in the law-enforcement community, as, an active shooter. Someone who has entered the sanctuary with a weapon and has actively engaged members of the congregation, or to engage a particular member of the same.

Now I certainly realize church pastors and administrators have many other problems to address in the performance of their duties, but the safety and security of the members of the congregation should certainly be addressed and planned for in some fashion, and if this article makes you think and make plans to address these issues, or at least start a dialogue among church leaders to deal with these issues, then I feel we will have accomplished something of great and lasting merit.

Let us first take a look at something we are all somewhat familiar with: the fire drill. This would be a good topic to bring up first in a deacon’s or church elder’s meeting. This would be a wonderful time to bring in the local Fire Chief. He or she has the expertise to offer suggestions, and help you to develop a fire evacuation plan. Suggestions of which I’m sure would include components such as:

o Assigning at least three church members in advance to assist certain elderly or infirmed members out of the building. That is three assigned to each one, if possible, because some may be unable to help, or simply not in church that day. This should be, if possible, people who could carry them out if necessary.
o Ushers should know how many people are seated in their area. This is a normal procedure, as most churches keep attendance records anyway. If three or more ushers write these figures down, it will make an accurate count possible to ascertain if there is anyone left in the church building.
o Have a designated place to meet, and have each usher count his own section. No one should leave until they have been accounted for, as someone may later risk their life in trying to save someone who is on their way home. Also, make sure the place you pick as a designated meeting place is safe. Your local Fire Department can assist you in making this decision. A parking lot may look safe to you, but may be hazardous because of overhead wires, or its close proximity to gas or propane tanks.
o Remember nothing replaces a good fire prevention program. Have the church sanctuary and all accompanying structures inspected at least once a year by a qualified fire inspection officer. This could accompany the annual fire prevention week in October, for example. Remember also to remind the congregation to check their own homes also.
o Remember to check all fire extinguishers yearly, and have an adequate number available. Most churches have members who are members of the local Fire Department, and any decision to stay and fight anything, but the smallest of fires with extinguishers should be left up to them. A fire can soon become too big to handle, even when properly trained. No one should risk their lives in an attempt to save property. Remember the importance of working with your local Fire Department and develop a viable plan. Who knows, you may even gain a member.

Now let us address the topic that so sadly has affected many churches, and for that matter many other public and private institutions all over the world, and that is the “active shooter”. Now I realize that this is probably the most foreign subject matter to anyone who’s goal it is to study the Word of God, but as church pastors and administrators we must accept the responsibility to plan for such an event, while at the same time pray that it will never happen. This is certainly an issue that warrants bringing in local Law-Enforcement officials to assist you in planning for such an eventuality. Many of these departments have already established policies and protocols for many public schools and other institutions, and I’m sure would be more than willing to assist church leaders in developing a plan as well. Some suggestions may include:

o Working with members of the congregation who are law-enforcement officers to build a plan, and identifying them to members of the congregation. These should be your “go to” people in an emergency, but still every one should know what to do in case of an “active shooter” situation. Many police officers enter a different mode when certain things or signs are observed. Their “Height of Awareness” is elevated, as we say in certain environments and situations. They see things that most people miss, but sadly, especially in less populated areas, they, too, see church as being a safe sanctuary whereby they can leave the pressures of the world outside, along with their badge and their service handgun. To these officers I’ll just say “it is better to have it and not need it, then to need it, and not have it!” These same people that you are sworn to protect everyday depend on you in God’s house too.

o Rotating ushers to watch the main door of the church during the service, and that these ushers have the ability to lock the doors if they see any sign of danger from with-out. For example:

1. Obvious display of a weapon, rifle cases, or other bags or luggage carried by strange or other unfamiliar people. Be on the look out for people who are dressed in such a way as to conceal their identity, or possibly to conceal weapons. If it is too warm for an over-coat, for example, why do they have one on? Erratic driving into the church parking lot, followed by the occupants exit from the vehicle in a strange or agitated state. Sadly this, too, can be applied to any type of strange behavior from a known member of the congregation. The pressures of life, as well as many other physical and psychological factors can affect even those of whom we’ve known and loved for years. Always be on the look out for strange or aggressive behavior from “all” of your congregation. Often slight changes in a person’s schemata, or scheme in the way in which they think, is a sub-conscious cry for help, and if left unnoticed can lead to drastic deeds and terrible results. Again, if strange behavior is noticed in the “Pre-Entry Stage”, locking the door may delay, or even preclude entry. It is also beneficial for cell phones to be carried by all ushers, to make it possible to contact the police, and if the doors must be locked, develop an expedient, calm, and structured notification process. This would be a helpful time also to have an armed off- duty police officer in attendance. Not only is it best to let a police officer handle the situation because of his training, but there are other factors involved in the use of force in regards to repelling an armed intruder. One other thing that should be stressed that in this present day of cell phone availability, is that one person call 911, or your local emergency number. It is best to have several people designated to ensure that one of them makes the call and follows the directions of the emergency dispatcher. If there is a police officer present he will probably make the call, but if he or she has someone else make the call be sure to tell the dispatcher the officer’s name, department and description. This is especially important in larger urban and metropolitan areas, as the likelihood of the off-duty officer not being known personally by the responding officers is far more likely than in a small town or a more rural area. Now these procedures, of course, apply to someone who has been spotted before they gain entrance. Now, once again these are only suggestions. Remember listen to your local law enforcement officials for their input and suggestions.

2. Now many of you are probably thinking to yourselves that,” this sounds good, but what can we do if someone does gain entrance into our church and does start shooting?” This is something that you will have to discuss with your local law enforcement officials, but some of their plans or suggestions may include:

o Use of off-duty police officers as security. As stated before, some attend anyway, and would be glad to help, remember most don’t come prepared to act in this way, as in some rural areas, we still live in a very psychologically protected environment. In short, people still have the “it can’t happen here, to us” type of mind set.
o The retention of a private security firm. This is, of course, an option for larger congregations only, and I recommend that church leaders and pastors who feel they would benefit from the retention of a private security firm, contact first their local law enforcement officials for their input, as the quality of these firms vary greatly from one to another, and you could be putting your congregation at a higher risk than you would have by having nothing at all. It is always good form to have the help, and the blessing of the local law enforcement officials. You may be surprised of what they’ll be willing to do if your pastor and church leaders voice their concerns.
o The church may use certain select members of the congregation as security personnel, after sending them, of course, through whatever State mandated program for private security officers, and after doing a complete threat level analysis with the assistance of law enforcement officials. Remember – doing it in- house, as it were, has both its advantages, and, yes, alas, its disadvantages. First of all, going back to my signature caveat, this is THE time to speak with local law -enforcement officials. First, let’s look at some of the pros and cons of using regular members of the congregation that are not sworn law enforcement officers. Every State has different laws in regards to the use of armed security personnel, methods of certification, background checks, and other criteria. Other factors include:

1. Liability of the church.
2. Individual liability of the church leadership.
3. Liability of the church member performing the duties of a security officer.
4. Level of training required and level of training desired. Some States have very good courses for private security, while others teach you just enough to be dangerous.

Some advantages are:
1. Less expensive than private security.
2. More vigilance and enthusiasm. Nothing beats a Christian volunteer for enthusiasm.
3. Availability of members of the congregation who are former police officers, military personnel, and professional security personnel. These are ready-made sources of experienced and qualified individuals for church administrators to draw from if, after close consultation with local law-enforcement agencies and officials, the pastor and church administrators desire to start such a program.

Some disadvantages are:

1. Liability, liability, and liability. I hope you consult with:
o Local law enforcement
o The church attorney
o The church’s insurance agent
o Placing one member of the church in danger to protect another

Now, one thing I’d like to interject at this time is this: you may already have certain members of your congregation armed and not know it. Many States have laws in which citizens of whom have met certain requirements are permitted to carry concealed handguns. These laws vary greatly from state to state, and I suggest again, that you contact your local law enforcement agencies for their input on this matter. Now, I can hear the collective sigh from the crowd, as those of you might say, “This sounds too complicated for us, and I just can’t see sister Esther packing a handgun, or anything else for that matter, to Sunday School.” So what to do? Well there are a few things that have been suggested by some experts. In relationship to school shootings, for example, for instance:

o The teacher shouts “NOW”, or another designated individual, if necessary, and when they do, all of the students, or in this case, the congregation, throws the “Book” at the armed intruder.

Now it must be remembered what we spoke about earlier, and that is the importance of having a plan. Now we must understand that when an armed individual makes it into our sanctuary or onto our church grounds, we must have a collective response. For example, can you imagine if an armed individual was met by fifty or more copies of the “Baptist Hymnal” being hurled through the air toward them. Yes, this may be drastic, yes, this does take courage, but inaction only adds to the terror, no one can know beforehand what they would do in a violent shooting situation such as this, so as I’ve stated before get with your local law enforcement officials, and craft your own Emergency Response Program. I can’t tell you what to do, only to give you this opportunity, and thereby make you think about the unthinkable, and hopefully develop a plan, with God’s help to stay safe and protected. Now let us change topics in this introductory article to another difficult subject, as we’ll deal with in our next section: Child predation, its warning signs, and relationship to the church community, and to the community at large.

I’m sure that many have heard of a certain denomination’s perennial problem with child molestation and abuse, but this is by no means a singular problem within a certain isolated church or doctrine. I have learned in my experience in both law enforcement, and as a former magistrate that there is “NO” norm or guideline whereby individuals that may, or have committed, these terrible acts can be clearly identified. They come from all walks of life, all professions, economic backgrounds, and educational levels. Some of the most polite and mild-mannered individuals that have appeared before me, or that I have interrogated have been pedophiles. We will not deal with an in-depth psychological study of their problem at this time, but however, deal with some of the resources at the disposal of the pastor and church administrators in dealing with, and identifying potential problems within their congregations and their communities. As I stated earlier, there are no sure signs, but some things that should foster concern among church leaders, especially in relationship to people that are either new to the community, or are otherwise unknown, are:

o Someone who has no apparent prior church background, who has recently joined the congregation, that is peculiarly interested in assisting in youth groups, and has no, or little interest in attending any of the extra-curricular functions held for adults only. This does not mean someone who has had a long history of working with youth in another locality, and should be trusted and that is trustworthy, but that should be verified. Be safe not sorry, call the pastor of their previous church. And consult the website at the article’s end.
o Trust your intuition. If something seems wrong, there just might be. Stay vigilant.
o Always have a chaperone of both genders at all church youth functions. Individuals who are insistent that they can take the children on the retreat, or other function without help should be monitored.
o Married couples are, of course, safer, but if they are totally new to the church, access should still be limited, until a better feel for their trustworthiness can be realized.
o It goes without saying an unmarried man of any age that you do not know, should not teach Sunday School unsupervised.
o Pedophiles also are very specific. This is not always the case, but a large percentage of them for example are very age specific, and of course gender specific. This could lead possibly to an individual wanting to teach a specific age group, and not another, wanting to help or teach young teens, and not wanting to help with the younger children. Now don’t become unduly suspicious, remember these are suggestions and tools whereby you can make good decisions to protect our children. Just because one might not want to teach middle school children might mean they have the ability to drive you to psychosis, I know they do me.

Now let’s look at some of the possible warning signs of abuse:

o Any drastic change in the child’s behavior, being withdrawn, or abnormally out-going, when they have not been so in the past.
o Being excessively clinging to parent, or parents, when not having been so in the past.
o Unwilling to go on activities previously enjoyed, fear of certain individuals that were once liked, or even admired. Remember this is only a possible sign. Remember, abused children often withdraw into an inner-world, and may fear not just the abuser, but everyone whom the child does not trust, or that reminds the child of the abuser. So don’t assume that the first person your child shrinks from is an abuser. Remember, children often do not tell parents or others of the abuse that is taking, or has taken place. Some keep these secrets hidden for years, and some sadly, keep them inside, which renders them unable to cope with everyday life, and increases their chances of drug and alcohol abuse. Many of the abused children, sadly become abusers themselves.
o Bruises, or other contusions, seen on the child that they find difficult, or apprehensive to explain. Having a long sleeve shirt on when it is much too warm for such a garment, may be an effort to hide bruises, or contusions.
o Medically unexplained bouts of constipation, bruising or irritation of the anal area, or in the genital regions. Unexplained shyness while toileting before parents (this applies to younger children) when usually they exhibit no apprehension.

Remember, sadly, that the old axiom that the boys are safe with the men, and the girls are safe with the women does not always hold true. The “Diverse Chaperone Policy” works best. Remember, if there are two genders from different house holds, of different ages, at a function the better off everyone is. This is a two-way street. Also remember, your youth leader may only be just a few years older than some of the teens he or she supervises. It is just as possible to have one of the teens develop an obsession for the youth leader. You get the point! It is best two have the “Diverse Chaperone Policy”, thereby protecting the children, and the church, its members and officers from any false accusations. In short, this type of chaperone system protects everyone involved.

Remember these are guidelines only. The major purpose of this article is to make you think about these painful subjects we would all rather not talk about. Stay vigilant, but don’t fashion opinions about others too quickly, or too slowly. If child abuse, or for that matter, any abuse is suspected it is best to contact the authorities. Let them investigate the issue. Don’t make any allegations yourself, but discreetly contact the authorities. This is the reoccurring theme I hope by now you’ve noted. Your local law enforcement officials should be glad to help you, and will help you I’m sure, to address any of your concerns. Many things can and should be handled within the church, and many things should not be. It takes a wise pastor and church administration to know the difference.

Let’s quickly look at a few more issues. Bomb threats. Now this was dealt with in a similar fashion in the section on fire drills, as both require an immediate and orderly exodus from the church. Again a safe meeting place outside must be designated with the help of the local authorities. Here is another case where vigilance a key factor. If someone, especially a stranger or other suspicious individual, leaves the sanctuary abruptly or nervously during the service, and leaves a package behind, evacuate the building, and don’t touch the package. Especially if an usher, or anyone, notices the forgotten package, or bag, and calls attention to the leaving individual, and they refuse to return for the item. This sends up the red flag as it were. Also we must look at the church buildings in general. Aspects such as properly lit parking lots and entrances are extremely beneficial to promoting a safer environment. Again, your local law enforcement officials will be glad to assist you in helping to make your surroundings and your congregations safer. Just another case of being more vigilant and aware of the environment in which we live. You are the pastor, and have the ability to see the majority of the congregation while standing in the pulpit. Preach the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, and keep your eyes open for danger. For the shepherd knows his sheep. And while our faith lies with the “Good Shepherd”, we must be good stewards of “His” flocks.

Also I would like to include a helpful resource, which will enable you to periodically check to see if there are possibly any individuals in your area to be concerned with, in regards to your children or to your congregation. You should surely consult this list in regards to ascertain if someone unknown to you has a desire to participate in any youth programs. While remembering this resource of course only includes those individuals of who have been previously convicted of any violent or sexual crime, and does not include all infractions. Please refer to the following internet website.

Remember to always consult the local authorities before making any emergency plans as local laws differ greatly and it is always best to obtain their input first. Who knows, by starting a dialogue with them you may interest them in the church and its activities, and thereby bring them into our fold as members, that they become believers in Christ Jesus as well as we are. I have been a law enforcement officer, and have worked with them for many years, and while they have great compassion for people in trouble and in need, many times they neglect themselves and their own spiritual well-being. They and all of the emergency services personnel need our prayers and our support. The Fire Fighters, Police Officers, Emergency Medical Personnel, Emergency Dispatchers, Military Personnel, and all of the other people who give their all, to help keep us safe, need our prayers, and yes our help and counsel to do their jobs, and to help make life as easy as possible for them.

Statutory Rape Laws in Arizona

Statutory Rape carries with it some seriously dark connotations. Simply by containing the word “rape” the term brings an image of an unwilling participant being forced in awful circumstances. In reality, statutory rape laws essentially represent an inability of the victim to legally consent to sex, however do not generally involve forcible rape charges. This article is specifically directed at still-teen relationships, however the author would go so far as to include anyone charged with the crime less than four years apart from the victim. This article will also focus on Arizona law, the author’s home state. Please be aware that laws vary from state to state, and you should reference your own state’s statutes to determine the laws in your area.

According to the Arizona Revised Statute 13-1405, “a person commits sexual conduct with a minor by intentionally or knowingly engaging in sexual intercourse or oral sexual contact with any person who is under eighteen years of age.” There are no exceptions or qualifications, aside from extra penalties for “trusted persons” such as parents, teachers, or the clergy.

Contrary to popular opinion and rumors of a “three year rule,” the only exception to the statutory rape law is that the victim is between 15-17 and the accused is under 19 or is still in high school and is no more than 24 months older.

To put these laws into a more simple format:
(1) Any adult having sexual relations with a person under 15 years old is in violation.
(2) Any adult over the age of 19 years and 1 day old who is not in high school and has sex with a person under 18 is in violation
(3) Any adult who is more than 24 months older than the victim is in violation unless under 19.
(4) Any adult who is still in high school but is less than 24 months older than the victim is not in violation.

It is also an affirmative defense in Arizona to prove that the accused did not know the victim’s age at the time the crime was committed. It is also a defense that the two were married at the time.

It is important to educate young men and women who have recently graduated high school on these complex and at times arbitrary laws. Since many people between 17-19 have contact on a regular basis, it is conceivable that a recent graduate could be in technical violation of the law, even if that person had been in a preexisting relationship. Ignorance of the law is not a defense, and conviction of statutory rape carries jail time as well as registry as a sex offender.

If you have been accused of statutory rape in Arizona, contact a criminal defense lawyer in Phoenix. A criminal defense attorney in Arizona will have specific knowledge of the statutes and affirmative defenses, as well as experience with the specific court in question. Going it alone is never advisable, as simple procedural slip-ups can cost you years in jail.

Life Coaching For Teens: Section III – Part III – Life Mission, Where Am I Going?

Mission: Where Am I Going?

One of the biggest crossroads for young people is that fork in the road after High School. What I mean is, it’s the place many young people get stuck. Even those who go on to college find themselves lost, many can’t make up their minds of what to major in. And those who do graduate with a degree often times don’t enter the same field they studied for. After High School I went to college and earned a degree in Criminal Justice. Then I became a Correctional Officer for seven and half years but I was miserable in my job. I soon discovered Law Enforcement was not for me.

I didn’t like what I was doing. In retrospect I thought I had spent all that time for nothing. Then I spent the next sixteen years of my life as a minister and thoroughly enjoyed it. Inside I knew it wasn’t a lifetime passion of mine. After contemplating my life and putting the puzzle pieces together I came to this conclusion. I have certain values and care about right and wrong. Law Enforcement helped me understand that crime was the wrong thing to do, and ministry helped me understand that there’s a right way to live life and a wrong way.

In the end, I wanted to help people understand that a better way of life was possible for them so I went to college and earned my master’s degree with life coaching as a second emphasis. Now, I want to teach the next generation how to live an abundant life. This is why I’m writing this Life Coaching for Teens workbook, to help young people not do the mistakes many teens make but to start life out on the right track.

1. Don’t Spread Yourself too Thin – “You can’t change everything.”

You must remember that you can’t change everything but you can start doing the “one thing” you have been designed and destined to do. I remember, as a teenager, I had all these idealistic dreams about life and rightly so. Youth is a time to dream and think BIG. Don’t stop doing that! However, we can’t change “everything.” There will be so many things out there that will challenge you. You must find the “one” thing that will make you a history maker.

2. Find the One Thing: “When I find my niche no one can talk me out of it.”

If you have not found the “one thing” you were destined to do with your life, you soon will. However, when you find the “one thing” you were destined to do in life, no one will be able talk you out of it. Reflect on this truth for a moment, then use the following space to write a brief essay called “The One Thing”.

Life Coaching for Teens:

Statutory Rape Law in Florida

Even though movies like Manhattan and Lolita have managed to glamorize an older adult having sex with teenagers, this is still statutory rape and it is criminal. Statutory rape consists of sexual intercourse, which is why it is against the law because of the age of the victim. The law has made the determination that consensual sex cannot be given from an individual that is too young to understand. Statutory rape is considered a “strict liability” crime. This means the rapist cannot use ignorance of the person’s age as a defense, even a bona fide belief of the victim being “old enough” is not a defense. In addition, if the victim lies about their age, this is still not a defense.

16 & 17 Year Olds
According to Florida law, 18 is the age of consent. Florida Statute § 794.05, explains that young people who have sexual relationships with people who are younger than 24, the statutory rape law will not apply. The statutory rape law is more concerned with adults over the age of 24 who have sex with young people who are 16 and 17 years of age. Florida law does however recognize the fact that 16 and 17 year old teens do have consensual sex with people who are close to their own age.

Under 16
Florida Statute § 800.04 explains that anyone having sexual relations with young teens under the age of 16 is unlawful, no matter what the age of their partner. Even in today’s world, there are still some people who are older than 24 who do not know that if they have sex with someone who is 16 or 17, it is against Florida law. Furthermore, they may have no idea of their partner’s age and believe they are at least 18 and capable of giving consent. A lot of times, the victim will lie about their age and claim to be 18 or even older, but the statutory rape law is still considered a strict liability crime, and people over 24 will be prosecuted under that law.

History, Gender, & Reporting
The statutory rape law says that the victim’s sexual history is not relevant, and even though the victim may have more sexual experience than the older partner, the older partner will still be prosecuted. Because the law is written in a gender neutral language, the law also applies to women over 24 who have sexual relations with a young boy or girl of 16 or 17 years old.

In addition, the statutory rape law also applies to oral or anal intercourse between people of the same sex. If a person over 24 has sex with a person who is 16 or 17 years old, he or she will be prosecuted. Additionally, Florida Statute § 39.201(1)(b), mandates that professionals such as nurses, teachers, doctors, social workers and school officials must report child abuse by a juvenile sex offender and by an adult.

Criminal Defense
Because statutory rape is such a serious crime, that comes with serious penalties as well as serious consequences, if you or someone you know is under investigation, or has been charged, they will need an experienced criminal defense lawyer.

Teens and Smoking – My Kid Has Cigarettes

Where do these teens who smoke come from? Young people are constantly exposed to advertising for everything from sugar laden cereals to plastic trinkets and toys that cost way too much and break a little too soon, and of course colorful candy cigarettes! A recent memo from the tobacco companies indicated that they wanted to bombard kids with cigarette ads on ice cream trucks. I swear as a mother, I would chase that truck down the road like a terminator and rip off the offending signs and then throttle the driver with my own two hands. No mercy and no exceptions about it. It is hard enough to deal with the issue of my teens and smoking, other children don’t need the additional advertising pressure from the ice-cream man to become teen smokers.

Each day over one thousand teens become addicted smokers. These are the kids from ages 13 to17, and they will make a decision that could take them the rest of their lives to escape. Teens and smoking can become a tragic life journey. You can lecture them, threaten them, beg and plead with them not to do it, but sometimes nothing will ever make a difference to your teens and smoking will become a rebellious issue. You just have to know that you did your very best not to let these teenagers make the wrong choice for themselves. For every three children that take up the smoking habit, one will eventually die of a tobacco related illness. Pretty sad odds for the beginnings of the teenage smoker.

Statistics for teens and smoking are not good. The majority of them will start before the age of 18 and almost all smokers will start before the age of twenty. The saying goes that if you don’t start by the time you are 20, you never will, but that is not always true. There are enough teen smokers in the world to shake a stick at, and to wonder what else can be done to stop them from ever starting in the first place, who knows? It’s a crime now to sell cigarettes to youths under the age of 18. It is against the law for teens to possess them. But they still manage to get them anyways. I know that some parents would prefer to think that it is easier to just allow their teenagers to smoke, but that’s not dealing with the issue of teens and smoking, that is poor parental judgment.

Almost ten percent of middle school youths do smoke, that number more than doubles once they get into high school. Apparently over 60% of teen smokers want to quit. But how do they exactly reach out for help quitting smoking when they are not supposed to be doing that anyways? Asking for help means admitting that there’s a problem and its difficult enough for adults to do, but with teenagers who smoke it may be a more complicated scenario to cope with because teen smokers are often rebellious smokers.

Parents especially need to figure out how to keep their kids from ever smoking in the first place and it should be nearly impossible for kids to get hold of cigarettes in any way. We need more education for teens and smoking and more realistic graphic details of what kind of damage cigarettes can do to the human body. And we need to discover ways to allow those teenage smokers already with the habit of smoking to quit without fear of repercussions. This is for non smoking youth. We want healthy and non smoking teenagers. Address the issue of teens and smoking now!