Look Older, Lose Money with Tobacco: Facts Every Teen Needs to Know
What teen wants wrinkly skin, yellow teeth and an empty wallet?
None of them.
Still, roughly 3,200 teens will smoke their first cigarette today. Another 2,100 will become daily smokers. And it’s not just traditional cigarettes that are posing a threat to teens’ health: E-cigarettes, hookahs and smokeless tobacco use are on the rise. Teens need to remember that any form of tobacco can be deadly.
Before you say “yes” to any form of tobacco, consider these 10 facts:
1. It doesn’t look good on you.
Smoking, in any form, can give you bad breath and early wrinkles. It also yellows your fingernails and teeth and makes your clothes smell bad.
2. Flush your cash down the drain.
Tobacco is expensive. The American Cancer Society estimates that for every $6.35 you spend on a pack of cigarettes, you’ll pay at least $35 in healthcare expenses related to smoking.
3. Expect to live a shorter life.
Smokers, on average, die 13 to 14 years sooner than non-smokers. That’s a lot of life to miss out on.
4. Say goodbye to those pearly whites.
Hope you’re not too attached to your teeth, because tobacco leads to tooth loss, gum disease and mouth sores.
5. Smoking is bad for you, and bad for the environment.
Cigarettes are the most littered item on Earth, with about 1.69 tons of cigarette butts pitched on sidewalks and streets.
6. Tobacco affects every heartbeat, every breath.
One fact you may already know: Tobacco and smoking, in any form, affect your heart and lungs. That makes it harder to do everyday activities like run, play and even just walk up stairs.
7. It’s a lifelong habit.
Ninety percent of smokers started before the age of 19. Trying tobacco just one time can turn into a nasty, lifelong habit.
8. Seven-thousand chemicals, one puff at a time.
Tobacco smoke has at least 7,000 chemicals, many of which are known to cause cancer. Check out the American Lung Association’s breakdown of what’s in cigarettes.
9. Smoking hurts the people around you, too.
The toxic chemicals in cigarette smoke can cause serious health problems, including those that lead to death, in nonsmokers. According to the CDC, approximately 2.5 million people have died from exposure to secondhand smoke.
10. It can be as addictive as heroin or cocaine.
Nicotine, a chemical in cigarettes and all tobacco, signals the brain to release dopamine, which helps lower stress. Studies have shown the younger you start smoking, the harder it is to stop.
Learn more about tobacco’s impact by talking with your doctor or visiting GetHealthyLiveWell.org. To find a doctor near you, call Tanner’s free, 24-hour physician referral line at 770.214.CARE (2273) or select “Find a Doctor” at www.tanner.org.