The easiest way to make smoking a habit in the future is to start during the teenage years. It is important you understand why it is important not to pick up this habit in your teens because you must know by now – Smoking kills.
Statistics clearly point out the following:
- 90% of smokers in the US started smoking during their teens
- Around 6000 start smoking under the age of 18. It has been estimated that 2000 will continue smoking.
- About 6.4 million children’s lives are at stake in the future due to smoking related diseases if the tobacco use patterns are to be believed.
- Nicotine attracts the teenager more than the adult and even a low level of nicotine can get one addicted during their teens. This is why smoking during your teens imposes so many dangers.
- 60 % of smokers in the US pick it up as a habit before 13 and 90 % before 20.
The effects of smoking on teenagers are more prominent than on adults. Here’s a checklist of what can happen to you if you smoke during your teens:
- As a teen, you might develop bad breadth, stained teeth and you become prone to formation of cavities.
- Smoking leads to body odor and you might not realize the same because the US Department of Health and Human Services opines that smokers have a low sense of smell.
- If you have developed yellow pale skin, it might be an aftereffect of smoking. This happens because owing the smoking, oxygen cannot flow smoothly through the restricted blood vessels in the skin.
- Smoking definitely reduces the age span but while you are alive it even makes you look older than your age. This is very prominent for teens who might develop wrinkles around their lips due to smoking.
- Smoking during your teenage results in smaller lungs and hearts.
- Teenage smokers are more prone to respiratory ailments like cold, pneumonia, flu, bronchitis etc.
- In terms of maintaining physical fitness, smokers have a lot to lose and if you dream of a successful athletic career, quit smoking.
There are various causes that preaches smoking amongst teenagers :
- Peer Groups: To be a member of a particular peer group in high school, teenagers adopt this habit to match with their peers.
- Smoking is not cool: Many take this up as a trendsetter believing smoking to be cool. The rebellious nature of a teenager prompts him to take up smoking.
- Smokers in the family: It has been observed that in families where the father smokes, children tend to pick up the habit more easily.
- No future plans: Teens tend to neglect the future believing it to be a matter to be bothered about later. But habits are hard to let go once you pick it up.
- TV and Movies also have an influencing role when it comes to teens.
Parents can play an important role in helping teens curb smoking:
- Try to list down the statistics and make them aware of the statistics.
- Keep a tab on the community no smoking programs and try to participate.
- Don’t interfere – this might make him rebellious – but try being involved in his life as a friend.
- Organize parties for your kids and their friends so that you can keep a track of their company also.
- Sports can help divert a teen’s mindset. Make sure you encourage him.
Smoking amongst teens is increasing at an alarming rate and it will continue to haunt and take more lives. It’s high time we realize the risks and threats it imposes. Smoking kills and its time you take some meaning out the statutory warning mentioned in every packet. Every teen wants his share of independence and it should be propagated that independence includes taking responsibility of himself, planning for the future and understanding how to maintain a healthy life. If smoking amongst teens can be reduced, then around 800,000 new smokers can be prevented annually. This will not bring smoking to an end, but will definitely save a lot of lives.