Teen smoking is a very real issue. Although the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) report that teen smoking is down since the 1990s, the problem has remained relatively stable throughout the 2000s. Teen smoking still affects 54 percent of high school students, and one in three who start smoking as a teen will die later of smoking related causes. It is very important to prevent teen smoking. But in order to do that, one must first understand why many teens start smoking in the first place. Causes of teen smoking There are different reasons why teenagers start smoking. Very few of them start with the idea that they will keep smoking.
Indeed, the CDC reports that only three out of 100 high school students that smoke think that they will still be smoking in five years. Many of them feel that it is a temporary thing that they are doing. Unfortunately, the truth is that 60 out of 100 high school students are still smoking seven to nine years later. Here are some of the causes of teen smoking: Peer pressure: This is one of the biggest reasons that teens start smoking. They do it because their friends do. As many as 4,000 teenagers try tobacco every day. For the most part, adults who smoke now started as teenagers.
It is important to realize that most teens get their first cigarette from friends. Media: Portrayals of smoking in the media are nearly all glamorous. Heroes smoke almost as much as villains. And many of villains that smoke in movies and on TV have a certain coolness to them. Not only that, but smoking appears in music videos as well. Cigars are especially seen as a status symbol that goes with living the high life. Help losing weight: For some, teen smoking can help them lose a few pounds. Instead of eating, many teens – especially girls – will smoke a cigarette. This satisfies a craving, and keeps their minds off food.
In a culture obsessed with image, teen smoking can help some teenagers achieve the look they want. Health consequences seem far off: For many young people, teen smoking doesn’t seem like an immediate danger. Teenagers sometimes feel invincible, and the health problems associated with teen smoking don’t show up for years. It may seem harmless to some teenagers to smoke while they are young – they tell themselves that after a few years they will quit and live healthier. Issues associated with teen smoking One of the biggest issues associated with teen smoking is that of widespread public health.
Smoking can cause problems ranging from heart attack to lung cancer to overall poor health. This means that the cost to society in terms of treating illness down the road will increase. Teen smoking not only affects the teenagers involved, but it also affects others. Second hand smoke has been recognized as dangerous to the health of those that breathe it in. As a result, several states have introduced smoking bans in order to limit the amount of damage smokers do to those around them. Smoking bans can result in fines when they are broken. Indoor smoking bans. Many states ban smoking indoors.
They require smokers to head outside (and stand away from doors and windows). This is an attempt to keep cigarette smoke from causing damage in a confined space. In some states, smoking is even banned in bars and restaurants. Outdoor smoking bans. In some states, banning indoor smoking is not sufficient. Leaders worry about children and others inhaling others’ cigarette smoke even while outside. Some states have banned smoking in outdoor public areas, such as parks. There are designated smoking areas that have to be used. Also, so-called “sin taxes” are levied against smokers in some states.
Taxes on cigarettes are often higher than other taxes. This means that you have to pay a lot more for your cigarettes. This can get expensive for a teen that begins smoking. Finally, it is important to note that teen smoking can lead to other problems. Teen smokers are more likely than non-smokers to abuse alcohol or try illegal drugs. Teen smoking has also been linked to a higher incidence of fighting, risky sexual behaviors, depression and attempted suicide, and a greater likelihood to carry weapons. Teen smoking isn’t just about the health risks. There are other concerns and issues associated with becoming a teen smoker.
It is important to understand that once a teen starts smoking, other problems could follow. In addition to the health risks associated with smoking, using tobacco has negative impacts on a person socially. For some teens, these social consequences may be more concerning than the health ones. Keep reading for more on the social consequences of smoking. Social Consequences of Smoking Smoking is marketed to young people as being a cool thing to do. The media often portrays tough or attractive people smoking, though this trend has been changing in recent years.
More people are beginning to realize now that smoking has a negative impact on their social lives and opportunities, and this is why many young people choose not to smoke or want to quit. In fact, teens who realize that smoking affects their social life by driving away friends or dating partners are more likely to quit smoking. Some of the negative social consequences of smoking are based on what smoking does to the person’s body. Tobacco can: •Stain teeth yellow. It can be expensive to try to whiten teeth stained by smoking. Having yellow teeth makes a person look older and is unattractive to others. Stain fingernails and skin. People can develop yellow fingernails and skin from smoking, which also makes them look unhealthy and unattractive. •Increase tooth decay. Smokers may lose teeth to early tooth decay. •Cause a cough, which may make other people avoid the smoker. •Wrinkle skin. This makes smokers look older than they are. •Cause bad breath. People may not want to get very close to a smoker, and they especially might not want to kiss them. •Make clothes smell bad. Many people don’t like the smell of smokers, and some are even allergic to the smoke and will keep their distance. •Interfere with sex life.
Not only does cigarette smoking make smokers less attractive to others, it can also interfere with relationships later in life. Smoking can cause sexual disfunction in males, and in females it can cause reduced fertility, miscarriage, and increased risk of losing babies to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. •Lower ability to smell and taste. This can lead to a reduced enjoyment of food, so going out to eat with friends or enjoying someone’s cooking is less fun. •Increase asthma. Difficulty breathing may limit a teen’s ability to do things with others. •Decrease athletic ability. Smokers generally don’t perform as well as athletes who don’t smoke.
Smoking also has other negative social consequences based on how people view cigarettes and their health consequences, and on laws meant to reduce smoking: •Smoking is expensive. Smokers have less money for other activities because they spend their money on cigarettes. •In many states a person may only smoke outside or in certain designated areas. This force a person who is a student or an employee to take cigarette breaks outside even if it is raining, snowing, or very hot. When a person is on an airplane or another place where smoking is illegal they may get impatient and unpleasant because they need a cigarette and can’t have one. People who smoke in their car or their house may have trouble selling it later because others don’t want to use a car or live in a house that smells like smoke. •People who smoke may be regarded as less intelligent or as poor by others. •It may be harder to make a good impression when smokers look for a job because of the stains on their body and the smell of cigarette smoke. This is especially true for jobs where the person is going to be interacting with the public or representing a company. •Most nonsmokers don’t want to be around smokers, especially if they are allergic to smoke, are pregnant, or have young children.
Smokers may get dirty looks from others who don’t want to be exposed to their smoke. •If you are not legally allowed to smoke, smoking may also get you in trouble at school, at home, or with the police. People who smoke may find in general that others aren’t very excited to be around them, especially when they are smoking. They will smell bad and look less attractive to others. They will also look old sooner, possible losing teeth or having very unattractive teeth and getting wrinkly, leathery skin earlier in life. One of the best ways to stay looking young, attractive, and healthy is to take good care of your body, including not smoking.
The more teens understand the negative effects of smoking on their social life the less likely they are to want to smoke. Teenage Smoking Prevention Teenage smoking prevention isn’t easy. Statistics say 1 in 2 teens have tried some form of tobacco, cigarettes being the most popular form. Learn about national efforts to prevent teen smoking and what parents can do to help prevent adolescent smoking. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimate that as many as 4,000 teenagers try some form of tobacco for the first time each day. Most of it is in the form of teens smoking – since cigarettes are the most popular form of tobacco use.
It is important to help prevent teen smoking, since these are the years that most people start their lifetime addiction to tobacco. It is also important to do what is possible to prevent teen smoking since tobacco use can lead to alcohol substance abuse and illegal drug use. National efforts to prevent teen smoking There are many efforts being made nationwide to stop teen smoking. There are public service announcements talking about the dangers of tobacco use, especially smoking. These ads show pictures of what someone’s lungs can look like when they are smoking.
Now, though, the anti-smoking ads are starting to focus on things that are more important to teenagers than health effects that seem a long way off. New public service announcements addressing teen smoking include appearance and other immediate effects of smoking. These ads point out that smoking and other tobacco use can discolor teeth, make the breath smell bad and add an overall shabby appearance. These appeals are made in the hopes that teenagers – in the hopes of having better appeal to members of the opposite sex – will avoid smoking and other tobacco use.
Studies have shown that focusing on immediate consequences can help spur changes to behavior more than focusing on consequences that may not be visible for years down the road. Most efforts to prevent smoking are done on the state level. Billboards and media ads are most common. Many states are also adding Web sites aimed at helping smokers quit, as well as Web sites that offer help to the loved ones of a smoker. One example of this is www. wediditstory. com, which focuses on providing tips to friends and relatives of a smoker, helping them find ways to understand the difficulties and tips they can use to help loved ones quit smoking.
Things parents can do to help prevent teen smoking There are some things that parents can do to help prevent teen smoking by their own kids. The CDC has a list of suggestions that may help you prevent your teenager from starting to use tobacco: •Consider your impact. Even though smoking is glamorized in movies, TV and music, parents can still have a large impact. Remember that by spending time with your teenager and showing that you care can actually help your teen avoid smoking and using other forms of tobacco. •Talk about the risks of using tobacco.
Be direct about the dangers and risks associated with tobacco use. This can be especially helpful if there are friends and/or relatives that are suffering from tobacco use. If you can use a practical example of the dangers associated with teen smoking, this can help illustrate the point. Also included in this: The unpleasant physical aspects (bad breath, discolored teeth and nails, etc. ). •If you use tobacco, try to quit. You can help prevent teen smoking by quitting your own tobacco habit. While you are trying, avoid leaving your tobacco in visible places.
Don’t offer to share it with your kids. And share your story of the difficulties in quitting, and how you wish you hadn’t started. You can even ask for your kids’ help in kicking the habit. •Start talking to your kids about tobacco use early. It is never too early to start warning your kids against smoking and other forms of tobacco use. You can start when they are five or six, and let them know how dangerous it is. Also, get in the habit of talking openly with your children when they are younger. This can help with other issues, including sex, drugs and alcohol, as they get older. Discuss the glamorization of smoking. When you see smoking in TV or movies, or hear about it in music, discuss it with your teenagers. Make sure that they understand that advertising and other media depictions aren’t real. This is something that can apply to other issues as well. The most important key is communication. Clearly state your expectations for your children from a young age, and cultivate a safe home environment. This will help your kids feel comfortable talking to you about their concerns and issues – and it can make a big difference in preventing teen smoking down the road.