Health Resources – The Dangers of Smoking
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 23% of all high school students use tobacco in one of its forms. Studies have shown that those who begin smoking during their youth are at a greater health risk. Additionally, those who begin smoking in their youth have a harder time quitting in their adult years. Cigarettes contain nicotine that is a highly addictive drug. Health professionals view smoking as a gateway drug to using alcohol and illicit drugs. The best way to prevent problems from smoking is by never starting. Teens that try smoking because of peer pressure should speak to a school counselor, health care professional, or their parents to find ways to stop. Smoking is highly addictive and can cause serious disease such as cancer and emphysema. Smoking is not cool. It is deadly and can cost teens their lives.
Facts about Smoking
Research tells us the dangers of smoking and all teens should know the facts behind cigarettes. Cigarettes are very addictive and once a person starts smoking, even if they try it for fun, he or she can become addicted and have a hard time quitting. Many people become lifelong smokers after trying cigarettes with friends out of curiosity. Here are 10 facts about cigarettes and smoking that all kids and teens should know.
- Nicotine addiction is the #1 addiction in the United States.
- Cigarettes are made from more than 7,000 chemicals. At least 70 of those chemicals cause cancer.
- Second-hand smoke can cause lung cancer in people who have never smoked. Approximately 3,400 people die each year from lung cancer obtained through second-hand smoke.
- Eighty percent of all adult smokers began smoking when they were younger than 18.
- One out of five U.S. deaths are related to cigarettes and smoking.
- Smoking is responsible for the leading cause of death through coronary heart disease.
- Smoking causes 11 types of cancer.
- Smoking causes bronchitis, emphysema, chronic airway obstruction, and lung cancer.
- Smoking causes more deaths than suicide, murder, car crashes, alcohol and drug use, and HIV does combined.
- Approximately 3,800 teens under 18-years-old try their first cigarette every day.
Heath Effects of Smoking
Smoking leads to many diseases and can eventually cause death. Studies show there is no safe amount of cigarettes someone may smoke. Even those who just begin smoking will immediately suffer negative health effects. Smoking increases the risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, lung cancer, and chronic lung conditions such as bronchitis and emphysema.
Ways to Say ‘NO’ – Overcome Peer Pressure
Peers can put a lot of pressure on young kids and teens to try smoking. Many kids give in to peer pressure because they want to feel liked and accepted. Sometimes kids want other children to accept them so badly, they reject their better judgement and do things they know they should not. One of the hardest things to do is to say no to kids that are pushing you to do something. In order to resist peer pressure, you have to have self-confidence, and inner strength. Though walking away from peer pressure is tough, you have to do it. Sometimes, the best way to overcome peer pressure is by changing friends and spending time with kids that have values similar to yours. Values and behaviors can always change. If you are spending time with the wrong crowd and want to change, begin by changing your friends.
How Smoking affects your Environment
Smoking affects the environment through second-hand smoke that is also known as Environmental Tobacco Smoke or ETS. Second-hand smoke causes cancer in humans and animals. When cigarette smoke is in the environment, it is dangerous to babies, children, pets, and plants. Smoking is not only a danger to the smoker, but also to those in the environment.
Dangers of Second Hand Smoke
Second-hand smoke poses many dangers including causing cancer, aggravating asthma, and increasing lung and breathing problems. Second hand smoke has been linked to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Cigarette smoke has been linked to the number one cause of death in the United States, heart disease. Second-hand smoke can also cause heart disease making it just as deadly as smoking cigarettes.
- Girls’ Health.Gov Looks at the Dangers of Tobacco
- NIDA for Teens Provides a Quiz on Tobacco Addiction in PDF Format
- Longview Public Schools Looks at Smoking’s Effects
- Web Quest: Should Smoking be Banned in Public Places?
- Clear the Air: A Secondhand Smoke Toolkit (PDF)
- PBS Kids Anti-Smoking Resources
- Interactive Site to help Teens Quit Smoking
- UCLA Study Shows Tobacco Smoke Impacts Teens’ Brains
- The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center Looks at Teens and Smoking
- University of Maryland Medical Center Examines Smoking
- The American Lung Association Provides General Smoking Facts
- Surgeon General Report: How Tobacco Causes Disease
- The American Heart Association Asks if you Really Know the Risks of Smoking
- The FDA asks What are you Smoking, Chewing, or Inhaling in this PDF file
- The American Diabetes Association Examines the Disease combined with Smoking
- The University of Michigan Takes a Close Look at Tobacco and Kids
- Stanford University Examines Nicotine Patch for Teens who Smoke
- The American Cancer Society Discusses Children and Tobacco Use in this PDF Document
- Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Examines Smoking and Teens
- Northern Illinois University Takes a Close Look at Adolescent Smoking in this PDF Document
- Dartmouth College Examines the Influence Movie Characters have on Teens who Smoke
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Looks at Smoking, Tobacco, and Hookah Use
- Interactive Site with List to help Motivate Teens to Quit Smoking
- Eastern Carolina Family Medicine Center Provides this Resource Guide for those Wanting to Quit Smoking (PDF)
- The Scoop on Smoking