Smoking has plenty of health risks. The younger you start, the more you are at risk for getting sick earlier and suffering from the negative consequences of this action.
Even then, smoking among teenagers and the youth continues to be a very common activity. Every day 1,500 kids pick up a cigarette and become regular smokers, and a third of them will die prematurely to cigarette related illnesses. Even with the habit’s known negative effects, the numbers continue to rise even more.
Health Risks Associated With Smoking While Young
Because an individual’s body is still growing during his or her teenage years, teenagers and young ones are the most vulnerable to the deadly effects of smoking. Doing so during teenage years causes impaired lung growth, which can lead to various complications over time.
Here are some health risks associated by teenage smoking:
- People who start smoking before turning 21 have been found to continue smoking throughout their lifetime and have the most difficult time quitting.
- Teens who smoke have a lower rate of lung development and growth and have a lower level of lung function as well.
- Smoking at an early age is also associated with other risky behavior such as drug use. In fact, teenagers who smoke have a higher chance of abusing alcohol and illegal drugs. Teens who smoke are three times to use alcohol than non-smokers and they are also more likely to use marijuana and cocaine.
- Cigarette smoking enhances the risk of stroke and heart disease. Early signs of these problems have been found in adolescents who smoke.
- Smoking reduces physical endurance and performance, causing shortness of breath for smokers.
Some Factors That Cause Tobacco Use
Tobacco or cigarette use among youth is attributed to many factors. First is the physical and social environment that the youth lives in, as well as small social groups that he or she is part of. Social norms portrayed in typical media like television shows, movies and advertising help promote smoking in many young people. Aside from that, teens with family members or peers who smoke also have a higher risk of smoking.
Cognitive and affective processes are also very instrumental factors. Teenagers who are constantly stressed, anxious or depressed can turn to cigarettes to help them feel better. Other factors include low socio economic status, low levels of academic achievement and low self image. Of course, the availability and accessibility of cigarettes at that very time and place also play a pivotal role in smoking among teens.
Initiatives For The Youth
Many programs on the national, state and local levels have been initiated to prevent and reduce tobacco smoking among the youth. Some of these include counter-advertising through popular media, community and school intervention programs and the increase of cost for tobacco products. Social and environmental factors can also help reduce smoking levels among youth, and these include religious or cultural participation, strong ethnic pride and racial identity and high academic aspirations and achievements.
Don’t Pick Up That Stick
If you are a teenager and you are entertaining the idea of smoking – don’t. It is not cool, and it definitely will not help your health at all. Studies also tell us that if an individual does not try smoking until he reaches eighteen years old, there’s a very good chance he won’t be picking up a cigarette at all. So if you have not picked up a stick so far, you’re definitely on the right track.
If you have already started smoking, then it is recommended that you stop as soon as you can. The earlier you do that, the better chances you have of avoiding the risks of developing health concerns related to tobacco use.
Vaping – An Alternative To Smoking
As it is rather difficult to quit smoking right away, you can use products or try methods that can help slow down your cigarette use or consumption, until you eventually stop.
Vaping, for example, is a better alternative to smoking. It provides the same sensation of inhaling and exhaling smoke (vapor, in this case) without the extra chemical ingredients and by-products that are in and produced by the combustion of the cigarette. Vaping also allows you to choose the amount of nicotine in your e-liquid or vape juice.
Aside from these benefits, vaping is also more socially acceptable than smoking because it does not produce second-hand smoke, which can be bothersome and unhealthy for bystanders. Pens produce vapor which immediately evaporates in the air without affecting anybody else.
Like our advice for smoking – if you don’t smoke or vape, don’t pick up a vape pen. You do not want to start a habit that you do not have at all. But, if you are a regular smoker, you might just want to make the switch to a better alternative, which can help you slow down your smoking and may just help you quit in the near future, too.