Teen Smoking

Teen Smoking statistics show tobacco use among teens is higher than drug use or alcohol abuse. Learn about teen smoking statistics, health effects of teen smoking, and tips on how to quit smoking. Also info and stats on teen smoking, and tobacco use.

Many people do not think of things like cigarettes as drugs. After all, they are legal for use in those above the age of 18. However, just because something is legal doesn’t mean that it is safe. And, in the case of teen smoking, it is actually illegal in all states for those who are not at least 18. The teen years are especially vulnerable when it comes to development, and smoking can be an addictive habit that can affect a teenager’s health for years to come.

Teen smoking statistics

When thinking about drugs, and whether or not a teen smokes, you might be surprised by the statistics that come up. Here are some stats on teen smoking from the American Lung Association:

  • Every day, almost 6,000 teenagers under the age of 18 try smoking.
  • 2,000 of those who start smoking each day will become regular teen smokers.
  • Every year, close to 800,000 teenagers under the age of 18 begin smoking.
  • 4.5 million teenagers under the age of 18 in the United States are smokers.
  • 90% of regular smokers begin before they turn 21.
  • Almost 20% of 12th graders smoke a cigarette daily.
  • Overall, 28% of high school teens smoke.
  • With current patterns of teen tobacco use, 6.4 million people who start smoking as teenagers will die prematurely due to a disease related to smoking.

You can see that teen smoking really is still a problem. Even though many teenagers understand that smoking is bad for them, the problems that come with smoking seem years and years away, and they believe that smoking will make them look cool, or help them make more friends. This means that it is vital that you talk with your kids about smoking, and it’s dangers. Make sure they understand that it is unacceptable, especially when they are underage and it is illegal for them to smoke.

Health effects of teen smoking

When a teen smokes, it has very real effects on the body. Tobacco products contain nicotine, which is an addictive drug. This is why cigarettes and other tobacco products can be considered drugs. A teen that smokes is bringing a substance into his or her body that alters it in some way. Smoking is an activity that provides pleasure, and affects the brain. The body can also become dependent on it and suffer withdrawal symptoms if the smoking stops, depriving the body of the nicotine it has come to rely on. In addition to these drug like effects experienced by smokers, there are some other health issues related to teen smoking. Some of these effects of teen smoking may not show up for years down the road. The effects of teen smoking can include:

  • Persistent cough.
  • Respiratory problems.
  • Lower immunity to disease.
  • Reduced bone density (and an increased risk of osteoporosis.
  • Reduced lung power, and difficulty exercising or participating in sports.
  • Heart attack.
  • Decreased fertility.
  • Lung cancer.
  • Mouth cancer.
  • Slower healing time in the case of injury.

Other effects of teen smoking can be unpleasant, even if they are not exactly considered heath problems. Teenagers who smoke may find that they are exposed to the following social consequences of smoking that can impact how they feel about themselves, and how others view them:

  • Poor skin: Restriction of blood vessels due to smoking keeps nutrients from providing what is needed for healthy skin.
  • Bad breath: When a teen smokes, he or she is likely to have persistent bad breath. In many cases, this cannot be covered up by mints and gum.
  • Smelly hair and clothes: Cigarette smoke has a way of clinging to hair, clothes and the interior of cars. The smell is usually unpleasant, and it can be difficult to get out. Even repeated washing does not always stand up to constant smoking.

The side effects of teen smoking are real, and some of them are immediate. It is often important to emphasize the immediate consequences of teen smoking when trying to illustrate the dangers of smoking with teenagers.

Quit smoking

It is very difficult to quit smoking, due to the addictive drug nature of nicotine and other chemicals in cigarettes. Therefore, it requires a great deal of effort. Many people try a combination of behavior modification techniques, as well as pharmacological options such as wearing a nicotine patch or chewing gum. Eventually, it is possible to give up smoking and resist the urge, but the temptation and desire for cigarettes is almost always there. The only sure way to quit is to not start in the first place.

Related Article: Teen Addiction >>