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Smoking and Alcohol
Doctors and scientists have found a strong link between teen smoking and teen alcohol use. Though the reasons are still unclear, statistics show that teens who smoke are more likely to use alcohol and engage in other dangerous behaviors. Learn more about smoking and alcohol.
Teen smoking and teen alcohol use have declined in recent years, but far too many teens still smoke and drink alcohol, with serious impacts on their health. According to the American Psychiatric Association, about a quarter of high school seniors smoke, and almost half are regular alcohol users. In fact, there seems to be a strong connection between smoking and alcohol among teens, with teens who smoke being much more likely than non-smokers to use alcohol. Statistics from several studies and surveys clearly demonstrate this connection between teen smoking and alcohol.
A study by Columbia University's National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, reported by Reuters and WebMD Health News, found that:
The National Center for Tobacco-Free Kids also compiled its own statistics on smoking and alcohol use, which showed:
What these studies are not able to determine is why there is such a strong connection between teen smoking and alcohol use. They do offer several theories:
Whatever the reason for the connection between smoking and alcohol, it is important for parents to talk to teens early and often about avoiding drugs and alcohol, including tobacco in all it forms. They can also set a good example by not using tobacco or alcohol in front of their teens, and by trying to quit smoking themselves.
If teens are smoking or using other forms of tobacco, parents should be aware of their increased risk for abusing alcohol or drugs. Parents can seek help for their teen who smokes, drinks, or uses drugs from a doctor or other health care professional, including community health departments.
Sources:Will Dunham, Reuters, "Smoking linked to teen alcohol, drug use: US study" [online]
Salynn Boyles, WebMD Health News, "Report links teen smoking, depression" [online]
The National Center for Tobacco-Free Kids, "Smoking and Other Drug Use" [online]
Eve Bender, American Psychiatric Association, Psychiatric News, "Trends in Teen Drinking, Smoking Continue Gradual Decline" [online]
U. S. National Library of Medicine, MedlinePlus, "Smoking and Youth" [online]
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