Smoking Perils & Teen-age Addiction

10 ways to keep teens smoke-free

Teen smoking might begin innocently, but it can become a long-term problem. In fact, most adult smokers begin smoking as teenagers. Your best bet? Help your teen avoid taking that first puff. Follow these tips to help prevent teen smoking.

1. Set a good example

Teen smoking is more common among teens whose parents smoke. If you don’t smoke, keep it up. If you do smoke, quit — now. The earlier you stop smoking, the less likely your teen is to become a smoker. Ask your doctor about ways to stop smoking.

In the meantime, don’t smoke in the house, in the car or in front of your teen, and don’t leave cigarettes where your teen might find them. Explain to your teen how unhappy you are with your smoking, how difficult it is to quit and that you’ll keep trying until you stop smoking for good.

2. Understand the attraction

Teen smoking can be a form of rebellion or a way to fit in with a particular group of friends. Some teens begin smoking to control their weight. Others smoke to feel cool or independent.

Ask your teen how he or she feels about smoking and if any of your teen’s friends smoke. Applaud your teen’s good choices, and talk about the consequences of bad choices. You might also talk with your teen about how tobacco companies try to influence ideas about smoking — such as through advertisements or product placement in the movies that create the perception that smoking is glamorous and more prevalent than it really is.

3. Say no to teen smoking

You might feel as if your teen doesn’t hear a word you say, but say it anyway. Tell your teen that smoking isn’t allowed. Your disapproval will have more impact than you think. Teens whose parents set the firmest smoking restrictions tend to smoke less than do teens whose parents don’t set smoking limits. The same goes for teens who feel close to their parents.

4. Appeal to your teen’s vanity

Smoking isn’t glamorous. Remind your teen that smoking is dirty and smelly. Smoking gives you bad breath and wrinkles. Smoking makes your clothes and hair smell, and it turns your teeth yellow. Smoking can leave you with a chronic cough and less energy for sports and other enjoyable activities.

5. Do the math

Smoking is expensive. Help your teen calculate the weekly, monthly or yearly cost of smoking a pack a day. You might compare the cost of smoking with that of electronic devices, clothes or other teen essentials.

6. Expect peer pressure

Friends who smoke can be convincing, but you can give your teen the tools he or she needs to refuse cigarettes. Rehearse how to handle tough social situations. It might be as simple as saying, “No thanks, I don’t smoke.” The more your teen practices this basic refusal, the more likely he or she will say no at the moment of truth.

7. Take addiction seriously

Most teens believe occasional smoking won’t cause them to become addicted and that, if they become regular smokers, they can stop smoking anytime they want. Teens, however, can become addicted with intermittent and relatively low levels of smoking. Remind your teen that most adult smokers start as teens. Once you’re hooked, it’s tough to quit.

8. Predict the future

Teens tend to assume that bad things happen only to other people. Most teens think cancer, heart attacks and strokes occur only in the abstract. Use loved ones, friends, neighbors or celebrities who’ve been ill as real-life examples.

9. Think beyond cigarettes

Smokeless tobacco, clove cigarettes (kreteks) and candy-flavored cigarettes (bidis) are sometimes mistaken as less harmful or addictive than are traditional cigarettes. Teens also often think that water pipe (hookah) smoking is safe. Nothing could be further from the truth. Kreteks, bidis and hookahs all carry health risks. Don’t let your teen be fooled.

10. Get involved

Take an active stance against teen smoking. Participate in local and school-sponsored smoking prevention campaigns. Your actions can help reduce the odds that your teen will become a smoker.

If your teen has already started smoking, avoid threats and ultimatums. Instead, find out why your teen is smoking — and discuss ways to help your teen quit. Avoiding or stopping smoking is one of the best things your teen can do for a lifetime of good health.

Smoking & Addiction

• Tobacco contains nicotine, a highly addictive psychoactive ingredient.

• Tobacco addiction can start with the 1st drag.

• Nicotine is more addictive than alcohol, heroin and cocaine.

• Addiction is chemical (physical) and behavioral (psychological).

• It takes 10 seconds or less for the nicotine from a puff of cigarette to get to the brain.


There are over 4000 toxic substances in tobacco smoke. Here are a few of the chemicals in tobacco smoke, and other places they are found:

•  Acetone – found in nail polish remover

•  Acetic Acid – an ingredient in hair dye

•  Ammonia – a common household cleaner

•  Arsenic – used in rat poison

•  Benzene – found in rubber cement

•  Butane – used in lighter fluid

•  Cadmium – active component in battery acid

•  Carbon Monoxide – released in car exhaust fumes

•  Formaldehyde – embalming fluid

•  Hexamine – found in barbecue lighter fluid

•  Lead – used in batteries

•  Naphthalene – an ingredient in moth balls

•  Methanol – a main component in rocket fuel

•  Nicotine – used as insecticide

•  Tar – material for paving roads

•  Toluene – used to manufacture paint


• Teen smoking is more common among teens whose parents smoke.

• Among young teens (aged 13 to 15), about one in five smokes worldwide.

• Teen smokers get sick more often than teens who don’t smoke.

• Teen smokers have smaller lungs and weaker hearts than teens who don’t smoke.

• Teen smokers are more likely to use alcohol and other drugs.


• Smoking causes almost all cases of lung cancer

• Half of long-term smokers will die from tobacco.

• Every cigarette smoked cuts at least five minutes of life on average – about the time taken to smoke it.

• Smoking is the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death.

• Smoking is a prime factor in heart disease, stroke and chronic lung disease.

• Smoking causes cancer of the lungs, larynx, oesophagus, mouth, and bladder, and contributes to cancer of the cervix, pancreas, and kidneys.

• At least a quarter of all deaths from heart diseases and about three-quarters of world’s chronic bronchitis are related to smoking.



Breathing second-hand smoke can irritate your lungs and reduce the amount of oxygen in your blood. Prolonged or repeated exposure to second-hand smoke can pose risks, especially for children. Second-hand smoke causes or contributes to serious health problems, including:

  • Lung disease.
  • Heart disease
  • Cancer

Exposure to second-hand smoke during pregnancy increases the risk of low birth weight. Second-hand smoke increases the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) — whether exposure occurs during pregnancy or after birth. Children who live with smokers are more likely to develop middle ear infections and lower respiratory tract infections. Second-hand smoke also causes chronic coughing, phlegm and wheezing, as well as eye and nose irritation.


Cancer is the second leading cause of death and was among the first diseases causally linked to smoking. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death, and cigarette smoking causes most cases. Compared to non-smokers, men who smoke are about 23 times more likely to develop lung cancer and women who smoke are about 13 times more likely.

Smoking causes about 90% of lung cancer deaths in men and almost 80% in women. Smoking causes cancers of the oral cavity, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, lung and bladder. The combination of smoking and alcohol consumption causes most laryngeal cancer cases. The risk of developing cancer generally increases with the number of cigarettes smoked and the number of years of smoking. Cigarette smoking increases the risk of developing mouth cancers.


Immediate Rewards of Quitting

• Your breath smells better

• Stained teeth get whiter

• Bad smelling clothes and hair go away

• Your yellow fingers and fingernails disappear

• Food tastes better

• Your sense of smell returns to normal

• Everyday activities no longer leave you out of breath (for example, climbing stairs or light housework).

Health Benefits of Quitting

20 Minutes after Quitting

Your heart rate and blood pressure drop.

12 hours after Quitting

Carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal.

72 hours after Quitting

Decrease in breathing-related symptoms – often breathing is easier

2 Weeks to 3 Months after Quitting

Your heart attack risk begins to drop.

Your lung function begins to improve.

1 to 9 Months after Quitting

Your coughing and shortness of breath decrease.

1 Year after Quitting

Your added risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a smoker’s.

5 Years after Quitting

Your stroke risk is reduced to that of a nonsmoker’s 5-15 years after quitting.

• 10 Years after Quitting

Your lung cancer death rate is about half that of a continuing smoker.

Your risk of cancers of the mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, cervix, kidney, and pancreas decreases.

15 Years after Quitting

Your risk of coronary heart disease is back to that of someone who has never smoked.

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