Smoking is on the rise today among teenagers at an increasing rate. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported that in 2012, 7% of middle schoolers and 23% of high schoolers in the United States have taken up the smoking habit. Even more alarming is that there are more than 3,200 teenagers who smoke their first cigarette every day. It can be anyone, and it can be your child.
In a new study, researchers tracked the symptoms of depression in people who were trying to quit and found that they were never happier than when they were being successful abstaining from smoking, for however long that was. —
There is a testimony that a majority of adult smokers started around 18 years old, and they have more difficulty in quitting the habit. According to a study, seventy percent of smokers would try to quit smoking at some point in their life, but ultimately, they fail. The addiction to nicotine and its effects are genuinely insidious, and these are chronic conditions which are prone to relapse. Many people do not understand this cycle.
Consequences Of Smoking
The far-reaching effects of smoking have been tested and are well documented. Still, teenagers may find this ineffectual as the emphasis of the harmful effects of smoking are geared towards the long term effects. A more effective method is to convince teens to stop smoking would be to present the more immediate, negative consequences. Here are some examples:
The Toll on Physical Fitness. Smoking causes inhibition in respiratory function and growth. Shortness of breath, chronic cough, and increased phlegm formation are the early symptoms. These are just the first signs, and yet it can be considered a severe indicator.
Tars increase your risk for breathing problems, lung disease, and cancer. Arsenic is a type of poison and the carcinogens found in cigarettes have been shown to cause cancer. — Amy Copeland, Ph.D.
Heart Disease. Complications to the cardiovascular system will most likely occur early on as damage to the heart and blood vessels accumulate. This increases the likelihood of atherosclerosis and heart disease, an early sign of heart failure.
Poor Oral and Skin Health. More external effects of smoking can be recognized from a person’s yellow teeth, bad breath, and skin wrinkling. Bad breath can destroy your social status, and it’s quite embarrassing.
There is also a neurological toll when smoking becomes a habit. Recent studies have shown that teenagers are more vulnerable to the addiction due to their brains; by not having fully developed their impulse control. This makes it harder for adults, who started smoking as teenagers, to drop the addiction cycle.
The overall most reliable predictor of who quit and who relapsed ended up being the level of nicotine dependence as measured by the participants’ pre-quit attempt cotinine levels and the number of cigarettes they smoked every day. — Adi Jaffe Ph.D.
Advice For Prevention
Discussing the harms of smoking with teens can be tedious, but early education about smoking is vital to its deterrent. Parents should take an active role in educating and setting an example for their children. If you are a smoker yourself, consider abstaining or outright quitting. Kids will follow by example. This is a fact. If you fail in that, keep smoking out of view of the impressionable youths.
Other factors to consider are environmental and social pressures. Smoking can be discovered from friends and social circles; it can be perceived to improve one’s image or be undertaken because of peer pressure. Media could also project smoking as something “cool” and something that inspires confidence, aspects that are attractive to teenagers. All of this must be addressed with information and understanding. It’s crucial to teach teens that factors like these are fleeting or fabricated over time, but the effects are very real.