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Facts on Teen Smoking
The facts on teen smoking report that more than one million adolescents become teen smokers each year. As a result, about one-third of those people will eventually die from smoking-related illnesses. Facts on teen smoking indicate that 3,600 teens start smoking each day.
These numbers are still incredibly high despite the initiatives designed to campaign against teen tobacco use. Modern health science and information is clear about just how dangerous teen smoking can be. Many smokers throughout the United States began smoking and using tobacco products when they were in their teen years. Peer pressure is a huge reason many teens feel like they need to use tobacco and smoke cigarettes. Researchers believe many teens will begin smoking despite knowing the harmful effects that can come with smoking-related illnesses like cancer and emphysema. They continue to use and eventually become addicted because they believe they can smoke without having the addiction. They believe they will be able to quit smoking earlier before the negative repercussions begin to take over their body. However, most of these teens underestimate the power of the addiction that comes with smoking and are unable to quit. They struggle with the addiction well into adulthood. Many adult smokers are never able to quit the habit before the harmful effects begin. Many teens will see these diseases like cancer so far off in their future, that they are not concerned about it while they are still in their teen years. They believe they still have time to quit.
The effects of teen smoking:
However, there are many short term effects of teen smoking as well including shortness of breath, inability to exercise, perpetual negative smell, rotted teeth, bad breath, damage to nails and hair and more. These short-term negative effects are often overlooked when a teen first begins to smoke. The addiction comes quickly thereafter. Prolonged length of injury and illness is also a problem because there is a slower healing time for those who smoke. Smoking affects the body's ability to produce collagen. This is why common injuries like damage to tendons and ligaments heal more slowly. Increased risk of illness is also a problem, which is why teen smokers and adult smokers find themselves getting colds, bronchitis, asthma, pneumonia and other respiratory issues more easily.
There are more harmful aspects to smoking than just the nicotine. There are an additional 4,000 chemicals used to make cigarettes, many of which are poisonous. These are ingredients people would never imagine putting in their bodies otherwise including tar, carbon monoxide, acetaldehyde and nitrosamines. Because carbon monoxide also causes heart problems, this is part of the reason as to why smokers are at such a high risk for heart disease.
The facts on teen smoking:
Fortunately more and more teens are getting smarter about smoking and the nation is currently at historical lows. According to teen smoking statistics from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, about 20.1 percent of 12 graders have reported smoking. The facts on teen smoking also report that about 13.1 percent of 10th graders have smoked and 6.5 percent of 8th graders reported smoking. However, almost one fourth of all teens are smoking each year. This number is still high compared with the short-term and long-term effects of smoking.
What can be done?
Parents and teachers are still asking what can be done to prevent teen smoking. There are many programs in place for teens to learn about the harmful effects of smoking. Some of these at least must be working because of the downward trend in teen smoking. Continuing to talk to your teen about beating peer pressure and understanding the long and short-term effects, both physical and cosmetic, is important and one of the best ways to prevent more teens from becoming smokers. Like the case with many other teen issues, it is important for parents to talk openly with their teen. If you are a teen wishing to learn more, be sure to create that open dialog with your parents to learn more about saying no to peer pressure and understanding the negative effects of smoking. Parents and teens alike need to work with one another to help prevent more and more teens from beginning that smoking addiction.
Sources: teens.drugabuse.gov, kidshealth.org
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