By: Helga Gunöz
The health risks of tobacco are well publicized, yet the rates of underage smoking continue to rise. Over 90% of users started when they were minors.
It is important that the younger generation understand the dangers of tobacco use. Smoking is the leading cause of preventable deaths in the U.S. Smoking can cause cancer, heart disease, and lung disease. Chewing tobacco can lead to nicotine addiction, oral cancer, gum disease, and heart disease.
The leading problem with smoking is the chemical nicotine. A person can get addicted to nicotine within days of their first smoke. The nicotine in tobacco can be as addictive as cocaine or heroin. Nicotine affects one's mood as well as the heart, lungs, stomach and nervous system. Short-term effects of smoking include coughing and throat irritation.
Several studies indicate that young smokers are more likely to experiment with marijuana, cocaine, heroin, or other illicit drugs.
The younger generation might be drawn to smoking for a number of reasons: to look cool, act older, seem tough, or feel independent.
Preventing Minors from Smoking
Emphasize what minors do right.
Self-confidence is a child's best protection against peer pressure
Encourage minors to get involved in activities that prohibit smoking
Explain how smoking rules the life of minors who start smoking at an early age
How do they afford the cigarettes?
How does it affect their