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Smoking and Teens

Updated on August 18, 2013
Most of the young people begin smoking before the age of 19
Most of the young people begin smoking before the age of 19 | Source

According to a report published by the US government, almost 25 percent of high school students in the US smoke cigarettes, 70 percent of them begin smoking because their friends smoke. About 30 percent teen smokers will continue smoking and die early from smoking-related diseases.

Another research carried by the US Preventative Services Task Force reveals that 90 percent of young people start smoking before the age of 19, and smoking claims almost half a million deaths each year.

In Canada, over 45,000 people die every year due to smoking related diseases that is according to a report published by the Canadian government.

Every year more than 100,000 people die in the UK because they have been smoking for a long time.

According to the Ministry of Health, Nepal Government, tobacco is the number one trigger of cancer related deaths.

There are two types of smokers, active smokers and passive smokers. Active smokers are those who directly inhale smoke, and passive smokers are those who inhale secondary smoke. However, both are prone to health risk of smoking. The ratio of deaths from smoking related disease is higher than from traffic accidents, AIDS, breast cancer, and drug addiction.

Health Risks of Smoking

  1. If you smoke a cigarette, you will have 11 minutes less to live.
  2. Every cigarette you take will reduce blood flow for more than an hour.
  3. Continuous smoking reduces a smoker’s life by seven to eight years.
  4. Smoking causes erectile dysfunction in men.
  5. Smoking causes high blood pressure, which increases the risk of heart attacks and stroke.
  6. Smoking causes fertility problems.
  7. Continuous smoking blocks the vessels to the brain. This can cause dementia.
  8. Smoking causes mouth cancer, lung cancer and throat cancer. Study shows 90 percent of lung cancer cases are because of smoking.
  9. Eyes are sensitive to smoke. Smoking increases risk of cataracts.
  10. There are at least 400 toxic substances in cigarettes. The most damaging are:

  • Tar: A carcinogenic substance that causes cancer
  • Nicotine: An addictive which increases cholesterol levels in the body
  • Carbon monoxide: A poisonous gas which reduces oxygen in the body

Why do Teens Smoke?

If you ask teen smokers why they smoke, they will give five types of answers.

  • My friends smoke.
  • My parents smoke.
  • I think it is cool.
  • I just want to try it.
  • There is no harm in smoking occasionally.

How are the teens lured into smoking? The easiest answer is the mass media.

Tobacco companies target teens in their advertorials. They sign up actors to promote their products, and pay movie producers to portray characters who smoke their brands. When teens see their favorite actors smoking, they are likely to pick the same brand and begin smoking. By the time they learn about the health risks of smoking, they find hard to quit. Since the smokers die early, tobacco companies see teens as their customers, and send message that teens can pretend to be grown-up by smoking.

  • Every day, the world over, almost one hundred thousand teens begin smoking.
  • Generally, more males smoke than the females.
  • In the United States, Canada and Nepal, around 20 percent of the teens smoke daily or occasionally.
  • Young smokers, compared to the adults, make more attempts to quit smoking.

Smoking causes chronic diseases. It has adverse effect on teens health.
Smoking causes chronic diseases. It has adverse effect on teens health. | Source

How to Quit Smoking – A Seven Point Guide For Teens

Overcome the temptation

Don't believe the smoking endorsements from your favorite actors. Don’t fall into the trap of tobacco companies. If your friends smoke, don’t feel pressurized. Help them to overcome the temptation of smoking. Think about all those celebrities who died early because of excessive smoking, alcohol consumptions and drugs.

Smoking damages your system

Smoking does not do any good to your body or mind, it damages your creativity. Smoking has adverse effects on your respiratory, circulatory and nervous system.

Smoking does not reduce stress

Smoking causes stress rather than relieving from stress because toxins found in cigarettes tire your brain. Smoking will damage your stamina and you will be unfit for sports and outdoor activities. It will give you panic attacks, and you will suffer from anxiety disorders and depression.

Smoking is wastage of money

Consider this, if you quit smoking you can save lot of money which can be used later to buy cool gadgets, clothes, even gifts to your boyfriend/girlfriend.

Addiction is serious

You might be thinking occasional smoking won't harm you. But you never know when occasional smoking becomes a habit.

Smoking will not make you a hero

Smoking will not make you a hero, but surely it will make you a zero. Smoking will even harm your relationship, because you will not only develop bad breath but also smell bad.

Beware of cancer and heart diseases

Smoking is the main reason behind mouth cancer, throat cancer and lung cancer. Smoking causes cardiovascular disease, which means you will have poor blood circulation, chest pain, heart attacks and strokes. You will die early.

Be aware of cancer and heat diseases
Be aware of cancer and heat diseases | Source

Do you have smoking teens in your family?

See results

Best Ways to Help Teens Quit Smoking

Parents, teachers, and other elders can help teens quit smoking or stop them getting into smoking. Here are 10 best ways to help teens quit smoking.

1. Learn why the teen is smoking

Mass media influence, smoking friends or parents, and tendency to become cool are some of the reasons that lure teen into smoking. You cannot help your teen quit smoking until you know the real cause. Once you get into the root of the problem, you'll be better equipped to help teen quit smoking.

2. Become an example

Parents and teachers have tremendous influence on teens. If parents and teachers smoke, it is more likely that teens will smoke. If you want to discourage teens from smoking, either don’t smoke or never smoke in front of them. Don’t set rules such as smoking is not allowed in my house. Teens are rebellious by nature, and your strictness will have negative impact.

3. Don’t be didactic

Simply talking about health risks of smoking may not help your teen. Tell the real life stories of people who died young because of tobacco related diseases. “Don’t smoke” is an important message but it will work only when you illustrate with proper examples, for instance: Smoking causes bad breath, cough, and wrinkles. It will also make you smell.

4. Communicate

Most of the teens believe there is nothing harm in occasional smoking. However, research shows once a teen begins to smoke, he/she finds hard to quit. Talk to the teens, show concern on their activities. Tell them the truth: It is easier to get addicted but quitting is very hard. Instill positive vibes, tell them even though it is hard to quit, they have will power to quit smoking.

6. Tell your teens to choose non-smoker friends

If the teen has a smoker friend, it is more likely that he/she will smoke. Encourage teens to leave friends who are not willing to quit smoking, and befriend those who have quitted smoking or are non-smoker. Involve your teens in creative activities, and make them believe if they can hold out long, cravings will simply pass away.

7. Stop-smoking products

Consult a doctor and help your teen choose stop-smoking products. Chewing gums, candy, cloves, and cinnamon can also help quit smoking.

8. Participate in your teens daily activities

Some of the teens pick up smoking because of stress. Smoking does not relieve stress, but pushes them into complications. Show your appreciation on good choices your teen makes, and talk about the consequences of bad choices.

9. Motivate

Motivation plays an important role in a teen’s life. Motivate young people to quit smoking. Take an active stance against teen smoking and support anti-smoking campaigns.

10. There is no second chance in life

Help your teen realize there is no retake in life. When a mistake is committed, it will affect your entire life. If your teen succeeds in quitting, congratulate and reward them with something they want.

Smoking does not make you a hero
Smoking does not make you a hero | Source
Smoking also damages eyes because eyes are sensitive to smoke
Smoking also damages eyes because eyes are sensitive to smoke | Source

I Want to Quit Smoking – My Story

My father does not smoke. When I was in teens, I did not see my elders smoking. My extended family did not influence me smoking, however, mass media had a tremendous impact in my thinking. When I saw my favorite actors smoking, I thought smoking made me cool. In the advertisement they showed girls attracted to young smoking man, and smokers doing courageous things. I was a tenth grader when I first tried cigarette. I chocked, and had a bout of cough; however, I went to try again few days later. I chocked again, and I never considered smoking until I was in college.

While in college, I had friends who were habitual smokers. There was some sort of peer pressure. I smoked in the parties and outings. When I was in the University, l read a government report that said Nepal is a country with the highest number of women smokers, second to China. Nepal government initiated Quit Smoking Campaign.

My father never told me not to smoke or quit smoking. When he learnt I was smoking, he bought a pamphlet about health risks of smoking and kept it on my writing desk. I read it thoroughly, and thought occasional smoking had no harm.

“I never smoked, never used tobacco in any form, but my son smokes. Maybe I’m a bad father,” one day I heard him telling to mother.

He did not say a word to me but made me feel guilty. I washed my hands.


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    • Vinaya Ghimire profile imageAUTHOR

      Vinaya Ghimire 

      6 years ago from Nepal

      @Carol, sorry, I did not see your comment earlier. Thanks for reading.

      @DDE thanks for sharing your views

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      6 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Most teenagers live in their own world and do what ever they feel like however your Hub sounds a helpful one to many thanks for sharing these ideas.

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile imageAUTHOR

      Vinaya Ghimire 

      6 years ago from Nepal

      @Mhatter, thanks for sharing your experience.

      @Ishwarya, in many cases teens pick up smoking because their parents smoke. You are lucky to have non-smoking parents.

      @Audrey figures are pretty depression, but manufacturers only care about making more money.

      @always exploring, quit smoking is becoming well accepted these days. I hope you experience inspires other people to quit.

      @Radha, thanks for appreciating my work.

      @rosemary, cool is the word teens associate with smoking. But the truth is smoking is not cool, but only makes us fool. Thanks for your comment.

      @fpherj, thanks for sharing your opinion.

      @Frank, Smokers not only damage their health but also harm environment. Thanks for being here

      @lovedoc, cheers

      @Angel, I think I have illustrated my opinion. LOL

      @tillsontitan, thanks for your brave statement. Regards

      @MrAhmad, that's true, but teens are rebel by nature, we need to sensitively deal with this issue.

      @Deborah, the day my mother found I drank alcohol, she cried bitterly. I still remember her sad expression. Before we do anything, we need to think about our elders. Thanks for your comment.

      @torrilynn,thanks for being here.

      @Gina, I'm glad that you found this hub informative. I hope this will help your husband.

      @carol, that's true, kids think nothing can harm them. But unfortunately, when they know what wrongs have occurred it is too late.

      @Wayne, thanks for sharing your experience. When I was in teens I was so much influenced by my friends. I believe parents must take interest in theri children's friends.

      @ImKarn, I have heard many smokers saying I want to quit, smoking is bad and such things, but they never begin quitting process. Thanks for your interesting comment.

      @Sunnie, sometimes it happens that while trying to quit smoking, people get addicted to quit smoking products. Thanks for your encouraging comment.

      @Relationship, I have heard people rationalizing saying look he smoked all his life and lived until 90. Yes such cases are exceptional.

      @xstatic, I'm sorry to hear your loss. It has been found out that high price reduces smoking in teens. The study was carried in Canada.

      @teaches, we start smoking as fun, but than it becomes addictions. Thank god I was able to break this habit pattern. Thanks for commenting.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      6 years ago

      So glad you decided to quit a habit that eventually would have lead to complications. I just had a friend pass away from smoking related cancer. It is a habit that is hard to break, but it can be done. Thanks for sharing. Voted up and sharing.

    • xstatic profile image

      Jim Higgins 

      6 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

      A really interesting, and as has been pointed out imortant hub. I had three older sisters who died of smoke-related diseases, all too young too suffer as they did. I guess I tried smoking once or twice, hated it and was able to ignore peer pressure, though most of my high school friends smoked, as did most of the people I served with in the Army. I was just lucky to avoid the habit. I am certain my good health is at least partially due to not smoking.

      So how do we make a dent in the habit? Does raising the prices to exorbitant levels help? If so, let's keep on increasing taxes.

    • Relationshipc profile image


      6 years ago from Alberta, Canada

      Very important hub. As you said, smoking causes stress on your body, but also the need for your next fix of nicotine (which is all smoking is) also causes stress on your mentally and physically. If you cut out smoking then you can cut out a lot of stress!

      I have to say that another reason people justify their smoking (I know I did) is because there are some people who live well into their 90's without any complication from smoking (that we can see.) The truth is that those people are 1 in a hundred thousand or more and the odds of being ones of them is very, very small. It is much more likely that you WILL have complications from smoking and die well before your time.

    • profile image

      Sunnie Day 

      6 years ago

      Yes smoking is so has plagued our family except my mother and father but I am happy to say everyone close to me quit. It was not easy and they went through some withdraws but the quality of life is so much better and as each day passes, a healthier body is made. Wishing you much luck in quitting! I know you can do it Vinaya! My husband used those electric cigarettes to quit and they worked at least get him there although I heard they are just as addicting but he was able to do it. Great Article.

      God bless,


    • ImKarn23 profile image

      Karen Silverman 

      6 years ago

      Incredible write, incredible read - TONS of eye-opening information! I thought i knew the how's and why's of the dangers of smoking - but - you've pointed out things i never knew.

      It's so hard to believe that 100,000 kids start smoking EVERY DAY - still! i believe those evil tobacco co's continue to put more and more addictive properties into their cigarettes to keep the faithful - faithful!

      I think that if cigarettes were banned(like the children's candy cigarettes! OY ((see my latest - there might be those who'd get them elsewhere - but i truly believe there'd be a TON of relieved folks who would be forced to quit - and say thank you for it! I think most smokers WANT to quit - every single day - and can't..

      Happy New Year, my friend!

    • Wayne Brown profile image

      Wayne Brown 

      6 years ago from Texas

      Having been a former teen smoker, I can still remember the influence of friends more than any other aspect. From a parents perspective, it is imperative to teach the child early on about the ills of smoking so that the pressures of friendship do not outweight those lessons. Obviously, like anything else, a parent should be interested in the company their children keep as the outcome could be far worse than just smoking. As parents, we have to teach individuality and leadership to our children. Do not go along to get along when you can set the trend and direction by being a leader; by maintaining your values and beliefs when those around you want you to give them up for theirs. Friendship is a wonderful thing but it should not come at the expensive of life or future threatening requirements. This is an issue which must be conquered in the early years of a child's development or the opportunity will be lost. Thanks for a good article with some good advice. ~WB

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 

      6 years ago from Arizona

      Unfortunately as we know kids are bullet proof..nothing bad is going to happen to them...until it does as life goes. Great hub with what every teen should know. Voting up and sharing.

    • GinaBina4 profile image


      6 years ago from West Tennessee

      Thank you Vanaya for writing this hub. There is some really great information here. I knew smoking hyped you up instead of calming you down but never knew it caused panic attacks. I am passing this information on to my husband. He may not listen but maybe he will. Thanks again.

    • torrilynn profile image


      6 years ago

      I enjoyed reading your article. It was very informative. Thank you. Voted up.

    • Deborah Brooks profile image

      Deborah Brooks Langford 

      6 years ago from Brownsville,TX

      The day my children starting smoking I cried.. I have never smoked and I just knew my boys would not and they started and tried to hide it from me.. because their friends did.. I have lost a sister because of cigarettes she was young. and I have lost a lot of friends because of cigarettes and now one of my best friends is dying from it.. I have begged them to stop. they keep promising me they will and they do not.

      I am at my wits end I will post this on their walls maybe they will see my tears in this hub.

      thank you you writing this

      Many blessings to you

      Happy and safe New year to you

      Sharing everywhere


    • MrAhmad profile image


      6 years ago from Edmonton, Canada

      smoking is a horrible addiction and teens who do smoke just have to realize that they are putting their lives on the line.........

      Nice hub anyway! You can see the effort you put in it.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 

      6 years ago from New York

      I am a smoker now struggling to quit. I've been smoking for 55 years...yes, that's right 55 years. Every time I see a teenager smoking I want to grab them and shake them while screaming at them to stop NOW! If they could read your hub and watch this video I'm sure it would have more influence than me shaking them ;)

      This is a great hub to make that point Vinaya and as always your pictures are superb and compliment this hub perfectly.

      Voted up, useful, interesting and shared.

    • Angelme566 profile image


      6 years ago

      This is so comprehensive. It satisfies the reader. So sad for those teens who smokes. I don't know what they are getting from those sticks of cigs. I am not a smoker and will never be , never in my whole life that i am able to taste this thing . Smoking is very destructive , hope one can realize before lungs eaten by the nicotines.

      Are you smoking friend ? Voted Up !

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      A very good presentation. Wishing you joy, peace and happiness for the New Year. Thanks for being a loyal follower vinaya.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 

      6 years ago from Shelton

      Vin you would think the amounts of people who die each year for smoking one would stop.. great hub and I hope this hits home bless you and happy new year :)

    • fpherj48 profile image


      6 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Vinaya....Even though the number of youth, taking up this nasty habit has declined, there are still far too many. Realistically, even ONE is too many. It's so so bad. It's startling why the youth of today continue to ignore the public info and data that is so available and visible in this era.

      The video is sickening and frightening. SHOCK value. Let's hope it deters more and more......UP+++

    • Rosemay50 profile image

      Rosemary Sadler 

      6 years ago from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand

      This is an excellent and worthwhile hub Vinaya and your personal story validates the reasons to give up or not to start in the first place. Such an important message to get out to teenagers.

      I used to smoke, I started at the age of 17, only once a week on a Friday night at the local dance because it was 'cool' . Teenagers need to know just how addictive they are. I was just so thankful that neither of my children even wanted to try.

      Goverments should be doing more but then of course they would be losing all that tax.

      UP and UA, and should be read by all teenagers.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Excellent informational article on teen smoking. It is the time when many take up the habit. Like the personal story in there.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      6 years ago from Southern Illinois

      I remember well the day i started smoking. I was a sophomore and all the ' In ' crowd smoked. I got very dizzy the first time and felt nauseated, but i was determined. I smoked for several years, tried to quit often but was unsuccessful. I quit fourteen years ago using a smoking cessation site on the computer. ( ) they helped me every step of the way. I wish all young people could read this. I am one of the few who didn't have a health problem. My sister Virgie died from emphysema this past summer from smoking. Thank you Vinaya. This is such an important hub....

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 

      6 years ago from California

      The statistics are staggering --and cigarette manufacturers make this such a difficult addiction to deal with---Great hub Vinaya! Every teen should read this before they decide to pick up! So sharing!

    • ishwaryaa22 profile image

      Ishwaryaa Dhandapani 

      6 years ago from Chennai, India

      An educative and informative hub! Globally speaking, the number of underage smokers is on the rise which is really upsetting. Teens need to be aware of bad effects of smoking. Nowadays, I have seen movies on both English and Indian regional movie channels keep issuing the notice: Smoking is injurious to health. Fortunately for me, both of my parents are non-smokers and so am I. Once again, a well-written hub with thought-provoking photos! Well-done!

      Thanks for SHARING. Useful & Interesting. Voted up & shared

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 

      6 years ago from San Francisco

      Thank you for this. I didn't start smoking till I was 24. Everyone in my office smoked. I took 6 breaks, but finally stopped because my body no longer will tolerate me smoking. I literally vomit.


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