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Chaldean Parents Were Right; Teen Smoking Proves Harmful and Ugly
By Brenda Hermiz :: Tuesday, January 6, 2009 :: 53905 Views :: Article Rating :: Health & Fitness

California, USA – The double standard in the Chaldean community always was a point of contention.  Why is it okay for men to smoke, but not women?  Some argue the double standard was required by Chaldean men living in a Muslim dominated society where smoking was seen as a male’s passage to adulthood and encouraged.  

The society pressures seem to be a strong force as American society continues to grow in disgust with smokers.   Chaldean men living in western society show a significant decrease in smoking compared to their Middle Eastern counterparts.  However, the increase in Chaldean women smokers versus their counterparts is staggering, but understandable, given the freedoms and consumer coaching aimed at women who have come a long way to light-up.

Stories abound in the Chaldean community of fathers and mothers disgusted at the sight of young American teenage girls smoking at school.  Some of the stories go so fat as to say that the parents refused to allow their daughters to enroll in the school, opting instead to home school. 

So whatever happened to those teen girls who defiantly puffed away as gawking Chaldean parents drove by worried as to what their child was being exposed to.  A new study says those insecure girls have grown up to be fat and are now costing society in hefty healthcare costs.

According to the study in the February 2009 issue of the American Journal of Public Health, girls who smoke cigarettes are at greatest risk, particularly for abdominal obesity. Their waist sizes are 1.34 inches larger than nonsmokers’ waists are as young adults, But smoking in adolescence did not necessarily predict weight problems for men, according to the study.

Scientists and lead study author Suoma Saarni, a researcher with the Department of Public Health in Helsinki writes that a correlation exists between women’s weight and smoking.  However, she added, “We do not know why smoking did not affect men’s weight, as we do not know why smoking affected women’s weight.”

The study followed twins born between 1975 and 1979 with questionnaires mailed shortly after their 16th birthdays. Researchers collected more data on the 2,278 women and 2,018 men when the twins were in their 20s.

Scientists looked at twins to take into account familial or genetic factors affecting smoking and weight gain, Saarni said. Half of the participants had never smoked, and 12 percent were former smokers in adolescence. About 15.5 percent of men and 9.4 percent of women smoked at least 10 cigarettes daily.

By the time participants reached their 20s, weight problems became evident. By age 24, roughly 24 percent of men and 11 percent of women were overweight. However, male smokers were not necessarily more prone to become overweight than nonsmokers.

The young women who smoked were 2.32 times more likely to become overweight than nonsmokers, according to the study.

The difference could be either biological or cultural, Saarni said. Biologically, it might be that tobacco and gender specific hormones interact differently in girls and boys in ways that affect appetite and fat distribution.

“My hunch is that women are more likely to smoke for weight control, especially in adolescence,” said Sherry Pagoto, assistant professor in clinical psychology at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. “When people do quit smoking, one of the reasons they gain weight is that they increase their consumption of foods. They’ll start snacking at the times they used to smoke.”

Ironically many teenagers who start smoking do so to overcome insecurities only doom their life to years of insecure weight gain.  Sadly, the teens who want to quit will find it practically impossible once they get started and are way more likely of living a socially stigmatizing and condemning life.  

Another study from the Université de Montréal confirms that most teenagers who smoke cigarettes make repeated attempts to quit but most all are unsuccessful.

The study found that teen smokers make their first serious attempt to quit after only two and a half months of smoking, and by the time they have smoked for 21 months they have lost confidence in their ability to quit.  The study's lead author and a researcher from the Université de Montréal's department of social and preventive medicine, Dr. O'Loughlin analyzed data from 319 Montreal teens. 

The teens completed reports on their smoking habits every three months for five years. The study found that teen smokers progress through stages or milestones in their attempts to stop smoking. These stages are:

  1. Confidently declaring that they have stopped smoking forever, one to two months after their first puff;
  2. Expressing a conscious desire to quit with a growing realization that quitting requires serious effort;
  3. Over the next two years, as cravings and withdrawal symptoms increase, gradually losing confidence in their ability to quit;
  4. A year later, they are smoking daily and now realize they still smoke because it is very hard to quit;
  5. About two years after starting to smoke cigarettes daily, teen smokers are showing full-blown tobacco dependence.

The study found that more than 70 percent of the teens expressed a desire to quit, but only 19 percent actually managed to stop smoking for 12 months or more by the end of the five-year study. Girls were more likely than boys to want to quit and to attempt quitting, but unable to.

Participants were aged 12 to 13 at the beginning of the study. For these novice smokers it took about:

Nine months after their first puff to become monthly smokers;

  • 19 months after their first puff to become weekly smokers;
  • 23 months after their first puff to become daily smokers.
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St. Thomas, MI USA

St. Thomas Chaldean Catholic Church
6900 Maple Rd.
West Bloomfield, MI 48322
Tel: (248) 788-2460
Fax: (248) 788-2153

Founding Pastor:
Rev. Hanna Cheikho

Current Pastor:
Rev. Frank Kalabat

Parochial Vicar:
Rev. Jirjis Abrahim

Rev. Emmanuel Rayes, Retired  


Rev. Frank Kalabat
 

Rev. Frank Kalabat was born in 1970 in San Diego, California and entered St. Francis Seminary of San Diego, California.  The admission to the Catholic seminary made him the first born U.S. Chaldean to enter an American seminary.  In 1992, Fr. Kalabat continued his studies at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, Michigan.  In July 1995, shortly after graduation he was ordained as priest by His Excellency Bishop Ibrahim N. Ibrahim.  

Fr. Frank chose Mother of God Parish in Southfield, MI. as his first assignment serving the Chaldean community as an associate pastor for half a decade.  In 2001, Fr. Kalabat was elected to serve as Pastor of St. Tomas Parish in West Bloomfield, Michigan where he remains today.   

Rev. Jirjis Abrahim

Rev. Jirjis Abrahim was born in Telkaif, Iraq in 1942. Upon graduation Fr. Abrahim was admitted to St. Peter Chaldean Seminary in Baghdad, Iraq.  After a decade of studies and numerous degrees, Fr. Abrhim was ordained a priest in 1967.  He chose to continue ministering in Baghdad, Iraq.  There he was appointed the headmaster of the catechism at Mother of Sorrows Cathedral.  Fr. Abrahim also assisted St. Therese Church in Baghdad until 1978.  Afterward he was asked to assist St. Joseph Church in Baghdad and was appointed Parochial Vicar from 1978-1992. 

In 1992, Fr. Abrahim was called upon to assist the growing Chaldean population in Michigan.  Upon his arrival he was assigned to St. Joseph Church in Tory, Michigan.  Two years later Fr. Abrahim was asked to become the pastor of a Parish community in Windsor, Canada  where he remained the parish pastor until 2001.

Continuing demographic changes in Michigan required Fr. Abrahim to return to St. Joseph Parish in Tory as a Parochial Vicar, where he remained until 2006.  In 2006 he was elected to St. Thomas Parish as Parochial Vicar in West Bloomfield, MI. where he currently serves the Chaldean community.

 

Rev. Emmanuel Rayes

Rev. Emmanuel Rays was born in Araden, Iraq in 1930.  He studied at St. John Dominican Seminary and was ordained to the priesthood in 1954.  The Chaldean catholic ambassador ministered in northern Iraq from 1954-1963, in Syria and Lebanon from 1963-1980, and in the United Stated from 1980 to the present day.
 
Form 1980-1983, he was appointed associate pastor at Mother of God Parish in Southfield, Michigan.  From 1983-1989 he served as pastor at Sacred Heart Parish in Detroit, Michigan.  During the early 1990’s he ministered to the Chaldean community in Farmington Hills and was at St. Joseph Parish in Tory where he was Parochial Vicar until 2000.

Although Fr. Rayes retired in 2001, he remains active in serving the community.  He is the author of many articles in Arabic and is the editor-in-chief of the Al Mishal and Al-Tariq magazine.  He has translated and continues to translate many books from French and English into Arabic.