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Tips for Teens- Tobacco

January 8, 2013
By Maja Bursac of Thomas Nelson HS



Tips for Teens ---TOBACCO

Get the facts:

Tobacco damages your health. Smoking is the most common cause of lung cancer. Smoking is also the leading cause of cancer of the mouth, throat, bladder, pancreas, and kidney. Smokeless tobacco can cause mouth cancer, tooth loss, and other health problems.

Tobacco affects your body’s development. Smoking is particularly harmful for teens because your body is still growing and changing. The 200 known poisons in cigarette smoke affect your normal development and can cause life-threatening diseases, such as chronic bronchitis, heart disease, and stroke.

Tobacco is addictive. Cigarettes contain nicotine--- a powerfully addictive substance. Three-quarters of young people who use tobacco daily continue to do so because they find it hard to quit.

Tobacco can kill you. Smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in this country. More than 440,000 Americans die from tobacco-related causes each year, and most of them began using tobacco before the age of 18.

Before You Risk It:  

Know the law. It is illegal for anyone under 18 to buy cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, or tobacco-related products.

Stay informed. Addiction to tobacco is hard to control. More than 90 percent of teens who use tobacco daily experience at least one symptom of withdrawal when they try to quit.

Keep your edge. The poisons in cigarettes can affect your appearance. Smoking can dry your skin out and cause wrinkles. Some research even relates smoking to premature gray hair and hair loss.

Be aware. It can be hard to play sports if you use tobacco. Smoking causes shortness of breath and dizziness, and chewing tobacco cause dehydration.

Think of others. Smoking puts the health of your friends and family at risk. Breathing other people’s smoke can raise a person’s risk of lung cancer by up to 30 percent.

Get the facts. Each day, nearly 4,000 people under age 18 try their first cigarette. And roughly 6.4 million young people living today will die from a tobacco-related disease. 

Look around you. It may seem like many teens use tobacco, but most don’t. According to a 2002 study, less than one in seven teens is a regular cigarette smoker. In fact, two out of three 12 to 17 year olds have never tried a cigarette.

Know the Signs…

How can you tell if a friend is using tobacco? Sometimes it’s tough to tell. But there are signs you can look for. If a friend has one or more of the following signs, he or she may be a regularly using tobacco:

-Wheezing

-Coughing

-Bad breath

-Smelly hair and clothes

-Yellow-stained teeth and fingers

-Frequent colds

-Decreased senses of smell and taste

-Difficulty keeping up with sports and athletic activities

-Bleeding gums (smokeless tobacco)

-Frequent mouth sores (smokeless tobacco)

What can you do to help someone who is using tobacco? Be a real friend. Encourage your friend to quit. For information and referrals, call the National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug information at 800-729-6686. 


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