Estimates suggest that thousands of teenagers the world over have their first smoke each minute, and a significant percentage of these go on to become habitual smokers. Fact remains that a large majority of the adult population which smokes stared smoking in their formative years; and the fact that the numbers of teenagers who continue to get hooked is only on the rise isn't really helpful.
Well, just what makes cigarettes so appealing to the youth? Apart from the fact that the tobacco industry leaves no stone unturned in trying to attract young probable smokers, a number of teens also start smoking owing to factors like peer pressure and looking at smoking as a form of rebellion. Inadequate knowledge about the perils of smoking coupled with instructions of 'don't smoke' and 'don't hang out with smokers' only makes things worse.
The Effects of Smoking on the Health of Teenagers:
A number of studies have revolved around the effects that smoking cigarettes produces on teenagers, and the findings clearly show that the signs are anything but good. Given below are some common health problems associated with smoking in teenagers.
Firstly, there's the fact that a significant percentage of teenage smokers go on to become chronic smokers, and this exposes them to all adult related smoking problems down the line.
Smoking a pack of cigarettes a day will reduce your life span by around seven years.
Smoking in your formative years will increase your chances of contracting lung cancer, and this probability will continue to rise as you continue to smoke.
Smoking affects the growth and functioning of lungs, and as a
smoker, you'd have a lower lung functioning level as compared to a non-smoker.
Teenage smokers are thrice more likely to suffer from 'shortness of breath', and also produce twice as much phlegm in comparison to non-smokers.
Smoking will affect your endurance and performance levels, and this holds true even for teens that are otherwise physically fit.
The heart rate of a smoker is comparatively faster when compared to the heart rate of a non-smoker.
While strokes and heart diseases are generally linked with adult smokers, data suggests that teenagers who smoke also display early signs of these conditions.
The probability of seeking psychological or emotional assistance is also more in teenagers who smoke.
Tobacco - The Gateway Drug:
There are many proponents of the 'gateway drug' theory which states that nicotine works as a gateway drug, increasing the probability of a one's exposure to higher drugs. Various studies have gone to show that teenage smokers are more prone to using alcohol and marijuana, and even harder drugs like amphetamines, heroin, and cocaine. For those who feel that their smoking habit will not lead to anything else, know that it's not going to be easy; and like smoking is not bad enough.
Teenagers who've had trouble quitting smoking will vouch for how difficult the process can be. The good this, though, is that there's help at hand. In today's world, teenagers have the luxury of going through counselling meant especially to deal with any kind of addiction, and when it comes to nicotine addiction, help is also available in the form of nicotine replacement therapy and various medication programs. In addition, alternative methods like hypnotherapy are also known to work.
Smoking makes you unhealthy, costs you a fortune, and its probably going to kill you. It really is a good time to quit smoking cigarettes - Most of all QUIT for YOU, and your family will thank you.
by NIGEL MARTIN