One-third of young people who are "just experimenting" end up being addicted by the time they are 20.
Tobacco risks include smoker's cough, frequent colds, stroke, emphysema, heart disease, chronic bronchitis, and cancer of the mouth, lungs, larynx, and esophagus.
Nicotine, the main drug in tobacco, is one of the most heavily used addictive drugs in the United States.
Young adults (ages 18 to 25) are reported to be the highest rate of users of any tobacco product.
Once someone is hooked on nicotine, the addiction is extremely difficult to overcome.
Cigarette smoking accounts for 90 percent of lung cancer cases in the United States.
Cigarettes and chewing tobacco are illegal for those under 18 years of age.
Nicotine raises the heart and respiratory rate.
Repeated doses of nicotine alter brain activity.
Each year in the United States, about 440,000 people die as a result of smoking.
One in every five deaths in the United States is related to smoking.
In 1989, the U.S. Surgeon General issued a report concluding that cigarettes and other forms of tobacco are addictive and that nicotine is the drug in tobacco that causes addiction.
In the same report, it was determined that smoking is a major cause of stroke and the third leading cause of death in the United States.
Nicotine is both a stimulant and a sedative to the central nervous system.
Most users develop tolerance for nicotine and need greater amounts to produce the same desired effect.
Effects on Youth
Cigarette smoking is perhaps the most devastating preventable cause of disease and premature death.
Smoking is particularly dangerous for teens because their bodies are still developing and changing, and the 4,000 chemicals in cigarette smoke can adversely affect this process.
Cigarettes can serve as a major gateway to other forms of drug addiction.
Adolescent cigarette smokers are 100 times more likely to smoke marijuana.
Nicotine reaches the brain within 10 seconds after smoke enters the lungs and affects the body.
Teens who smoke small amounts daily are still at high risk for addiction.
Both old and young smokers can become addicted to nicotine.
Smoking affects the immune system negatively.
Smell of tobacco smoke on clothes and hair
Chronic sore throat
Matches or lighters in rooms or pockets
Reduced athletic ability
What can you do to prevent your child from using tobacco?
Provide a tobacco-free home environment.
Set a good example by not using tobacco yourself.
Give clear, consistent messages about the dangers of tobacco.
Support coordinated school health programs related to it.
Understand and address the reasons why teens might use tobacco (e.g., stress, looking for acceptance).
If tobacco use is suspected, help your teen set realistic goals for quitting by giving him or her encouragement and positive reinforcement.
Local information and resources are available by calling the Seven Counties Services, Inc. Regional Prevention Center at (502) 589-8600 or by visiting http://www.sevencounties.org and clicking on Prevention Programs and Services under the “Our Services” tab.
If you suspect or know that your teen is using tobacco or other drugs, contact the Early Intervention Program (EIP), a Seven Counties Services, Inc. assessment and educational program for youth, at (502) 439-9699.