Tips for Teens – About Smoking

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Cigarette smoking is perhaps the most devastating preventable cause of disease and premature death. Nearly 50 million Americans smoke — including one in five teenagers — resulting in nearly 450,000 deaths each year. Smoking is particularly dangerous for teens because their bodies are still developing and changing and the 4,000 chemicals (including 200 known poisons) in cigarette smoke can adversely affect this process. Cigarettes are also highly addictive, both mentally and physically, and can serve as a major gateway to other forms of drug addiction. Adolescent cigarette smokers are 100 times more likely to smoke marijuana and are more likely to use other illicit drugs such as cocaine and heroin in the future.

What Are the Risks Associated With Smoking Cigarettes?

  • Diminished or extinguished sense of smell and taste
  • Frequent colds
  • Smoker’s cough
  • Gastric ulcers
  • Chronic bronchitis
  • Increase in heart rate and blood pressure
  • Premature and more abundant face wrinkles
  • Emphysema
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Cancer of the mouth, larynx, pharynx, esophagus, lungs, pancreas, cervix, uterus, and bladder

The use of tobacco is addictive. Most users develop tolerance for nicotine and need greater amounts to produce a desired effect. Smokers become physically and psychologically dependent and will suffer withdrawal symptoms when use is stopped. Physical withdrawal symptoms include: changes in body temperature, heart rate, digestion, muscle tone, and appetite. Psychological symptoms include: irritability, anxiety, sleep disturbances, nervousness, headaches, fatigue, nausea, and cravings for tobacco that can last days, weeks, months, years, or an entire lifetime.

Quick Facts

  • Use your head. Smoking is responsible for close to 420,000 deaths each year.
  • Stay active. Exercising and participating in sports is nearly impossible if you smoke cigarettes.
  • Stay informed. Young smokers are 100 times more likely to smoke pot and become addicted to other illicit substances such as heroin and cocaine.
  • Be aware of the risks. Smoking can lead to many physical problems, including emphysema, heart disease, stroke, and cancer.
  • Keep your edge. Smoking makes you smell bad, gives you bad breath, and gives you premature wrinkles.
  • Play it safe. Experimenting with smoking could lead to full-fledged addiction and a lifetime of trying to quit.
  • Do the smart thing. Smoking puts your health and the health of those around you at risk.
  • Get with the program. Smoking isn’t “in” anymore.
  • Find ways to reduce anxiety. Smoking may actually contribute to your state of agitation.
  • Be a real friend. If you know someone who smokes, be part of the solution. Urge your friend to get help and quit.

Click here for valuable resources on smoking.

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