The Truth About Tobacco-Tips for Teens
Get the Facts:
*Tobacco damages your health:
Smoking is the most common cause of lung cancer. Smoking is also a leading cause of cancer of the mouth, throat, bladder, pancreas and kidney. Smokeless tobacco can cause mouth cancer tooth loss and other health problems.
*Tobacco affects your body’s development:
Smoking is particularly harmful for teens because your body is still growing and changing. The 200 known poisons in cigarette smoke affect your normal development and can cause life-threatening diseases, such as chronic bronchitis, heat disease and stroke.
*Tobacco is addictive:
Cigarettes contain nicotine-a powerfully addictive substance. Three-quarter of young people who use tobacco daily continue to do so because they find it hard to quit.
Tobacco can kill you:
Smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in this country. More than 400,000 Americans die from tobacco-related causes each year and most of them began using tobacco before the age of 18.
Know the signs…
*How can you tell if a friend is using tobacco?
Sometimes it’s tough to tell. But there are signs you can look for. If your friend has one or more of the following signs, he or she may be regularly using tobacco:
*Wheezing, coughing, bad breath
*Smelly hair and clothes
*Yellow-stained teeth and fingers
*Decreased senses of smell and taste
*Difficulty keeping up with sports and athletic activities
*Bleeding gums (smokeless tobacco)
*Frequent mouth sores (smokeless tobacco)
What can you do to help someone who is using tobacco?
Be a real friend. Encourage your friend to quit. For information and referrals, call the National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information at 800-729-6686.
Before you risk it…
Know the law-It is illegal for anyone under 18 to buy cigarettes, smokeless tobacco or tobacco-related products.
Stay Informed-Addiction to tobacco is hard to control. More than 90% of teens who use tobacco daily experience at least one symptom of withdrawal when they try to quit.
Keep your edge-The poisons in cigarettes can affect your appearance. Smoking can dry your skin out and cause wrinkles. Some research even relates smoking to premature gray hair and hair loss.
Be aware-It can be hard to play sports if you use tobacco. Smoking causes shortness of breath and dizziness and chewing tobacco causes dehydration.
Think of others-Smoking puts the health of your friends and family at risk. Approximately 3,000 non-smokers die of lung cancer each year from breathing other peoples smoke.
Get the facts-Each day more than 3,000 people under age 18 become regular smokers. That’s more than 1 million teens per year. Roughly one-third of them eventually die from a tobacco-related disease.
Look around you-Even tough a lot of teens use tobacco most don’t. According to a 1998 study; less than 20% of teens are regular smokers. In fact, 64% of 12 to 17 years olds have never even tried a cigarette.
The Bottom Line: If you know someone who is using tobacco, urge him or her to quit. If you are using it-stop! The longer you ignore the real facts, the more chances you take with your health and well-being. It’s never too late. Talk to your parents, a doctor, a counselor, a teacher or another adult your trust. Do it today!
*Curious about the TV ads of the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign? Check out the Web site at http://www.freevibe.com or visit the Office of National Drug Control Policy Web site at http://www.whitehousedrugspolicy.gov. For footnote reference see our Website at http://www.health.org.
Q: Doesn’t smoking help you relax?
A: No. Smoking can actually increase feelings of stress and nervousness. Break the cycle: use drug-free strategies to calm your nerves like exercise and talking to your friends.
Q: Isn’t smoking sexy?
A: Only if you think, bad breath smelly hair, yellow fingers and coughing are sexy. Advertisements often portray smoking as glamorous and sophisticated but think carefully about who created these ads and why.
Q: Isn’t smokeless tobacco safer to use than cigarettes?
A: No, form of tobacco is safe to use. Smokeless tobacco users are 50 times more likely to get oral cancer than nonusers. Those who don’t develop some form of cancer are still likely to have signs of use, like stained teeth, bad breath and mouth sores.
To learn more about tobacco or obtain referrals to programs in your community, contact one of the following toll-free numbers: SAMHSA’s National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information 800-729-6686. TDD: 800-487-4889-linea gratis en espanol 877-767-8432.
Disclaimer: This information was taken from the Elks National Drug Awareness Program. Prevention through Education. http://www.elks.org/dap. DAP@elks.org. and I give them full credit for this information. Please contact the above numbers for more information.
Please call the above numbers for more information on the program.
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