Cigarette smoking is often portrayed as cool and hip. While it is illegal to advertise cigarettes on TV, tobacco companies are finding different ways to tempt young people to smoke. They have created cartoon characters and cigarette shaped bubble gum, both of which are now banned by the government. You can also see your favorite actor or actress smoke in the movies. These are just some of the ways tobacco companies use to get young people to light up for the first time.
Nicotine is one of the many chemicals that you inhale when you smoke. This chemical is highly addictive. Tobacco companies know that it is so addictive that once you start, it will be really hard for you to stop. Studies have shown that most adult smokers started smoking when they were preteens or teenagers.
Dangers of smoking
Nearly 1 out of every 5 deaths each year in the United States is related to cigarette smoking. Besides becoming a life long addict to cigarettes, smoking has many other health risks:
- Lung disease
- Cancer of the mouth and lungs
- Heart disease and stroke
The longer you smoke, the greater these risks become.
How to resist smoking
- Brush your teeth or go for a walk if you feel the urge to smoke.
- Substitute a different activity for smoking, such as listening to music, exercising, reading, or cooking.
- Go to places where smoking is not allowed.
- If you are at a party, stick with non-smokers so you won’t be tempted to smoke.
- Avoid behaviors connected to smoking, such as drinking and gambling.
Reasons to quit smoking
- Saves money- the cost of cigarettes can add up
- Fresher breath
- Clean smelling hair and clothes
- Whiter teeth – no more tobacco stained teeth
- Fewer wrinkles
- Reduces risk of heart disease, stroke, lung problems and cancer
- Spares others from breathing in second hand smoke
Where to get help if you want to quit smoking
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: www.teen.smokefree.gov