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Health Information For Teens
Most of us know that smoking:
So why are people still lighting up? The answer, in a word, is addiction.
Smoking is a hard habit to break because tobacco contains the very addictive chemical nicotine. As with heroin or other addictive drugs, the body and mind quickly get used to the nicotine in cigarettes. Soon, a person needs to have it just to feel normal.
People start smoking for different reasons. Some think it looks cool. Others start because their family members or friends smoke. Almost all adult tobacco users started before they were 18 years old. Most never expected to become addicted. That’s why it’s so much easier to not start smoking at all.
It’s not only cigarettes that people get hooked on.
Also beware of vaping. Battery-operated e-cigarettes use cartridges filled with nicotine, flavorings, and other harmful chemicals and turn them into a vapor that’s inhaled by the user.
Some people think that e-cigarettes are safer than regular cigarettes because they don’t contain tobacco. But the other ingredients in them are dangerous too. In fact, there are reports of serious lung damage and even death among people who use e-cigarettes. So health experts strongly warn against using them.
Hookahs are water pipes used to smoke tobacco through a hose with a mouthpiece. Some people think they’re safer than cigarettes because the smoke cools when it passes through the water. But look at the black gunk that builds up in a hookah hose. Some of that gets into users’ mouths and lungs. And since they don’t have filters and people often use them for long periods, their health risks might be even greater. Hookahs are usually shared, so there’s the added risk from germs being passed around along with the pipe.
Many of the chemicals in cigarettes, like nicotine and cyanide, are poisons that can kill in high doses. The body is smart. It goes on the defense when it’s being poisoned. First-time smokers often feel pain or burning in their throat and lungs, and some even throw up the first few times they try tobacco.
Over time, smoking leads to health problems such as:
Other problems include:
Smoking can affect sexual health in both men and women. Girls who smoke and are on hormone-based birth control methods like the Pill, the patch, or the ring have a higher risk of serious health problems, like heart attacks. And if a woman wants to get pregnant, smoking can make that harder.
Besides these long-term problems, the chemicals in cigarettes and other products also can affect the body quickly. Teen smokers can have many of these problems:
All forms of tobacco — cigarettes, pipes, cigars, hookahs, and smokeless tobacco — are health hazards. It doesn’t help to substitute products that are advertised as better for you, such as e-cigarettes or filtered or low-tar cigarettes.
The only thing that really helps is staying away from all these products. This isn’t always easy, especially if everyone around you is smoking or vaping. It may help to have your reasons for saying no ready for times you may feel the pressure. Try “I just don’t like it” or “I want to stay in shape for soccer” (or football, basketball, or other sport).
If you do smoke or vape and want to quit, you have lots of information and support available. Different approaches to quitting work for different people. For some, quitting cold turkey is best. Others find that a slower approach is the way to go. Some people find that it helps to go to a support group especially for teens.
You also can find information and support online at:
When quitting, know that the first few days are the hardest. So don’t give up. Some people find they have a few relapses before they manage to quit for good.
Staying smoke-free will give you more energy, better looks, more money in your pocket, and in the long run, more life to live!
E-cigarettes aren’t a safe alternative to smoking, they’re just another way of putting nicotine into your body. Get the facts on e-cigs and vaping.
Chewing or dipping: These terms are familiar to the millions of teens who use smokeless tobacco. If you’re ready to quit or you want to learn more about smokeless tobacco, read this article.
Nearly 1 in 5 deaths in the United States is related to tobacco. Are you ready to kick the habit?
Experts now know that breathing in someone else’s secondhand smoke is bad for you. Find out what you can do about it.
Find out why smoking is a bad idea – especially for people with asthma.
Find out what the experts have to say.
Gum disease doesn’t just happen to people your grandparents’ age – it can happen to teens too. Get the details here.
Find out what you can do if you think you or a friend has a drug or alcohol addiction – from recognizing the warning signs to suggestions to help you stay clean.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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