What About Smoking? (AAP.org)
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What's the big deal about smoking? Lots of my friends do it.
Smoking is a big deal. This is what smoking does to your body:

    • Carbon monoxide in tobacco smoke takes oxygen from your body.
    • Your lungs will turn gray and disgusting.
    • Nicotine, a drug contained in tobacco, can cause your heart to beat faster and work less effectively.

It's a proven fact that the earlier a person starts smoking, the greater the risk of these diseases:

    • Cancer • Heart disease
    • Chronic bronchitis—a serious disease of the airways to the lung
    • Emphysema—a crippling lung disease

Smoking is addictive
Some of the chemicals in cigarettes cause people to become addicted very soon after they start smoking. If you are a smoker, you'll know you're addicted when:

    • You crave cigarettes.
    • You feel nervous without cigarettes.
    • You try to quit smoking and have trouble doing it.

Quitting can be hard, and it can take a long time. The longer you smoke, the harder it is to stop. If you're already addicted, there's help available to you.
Smoking is ugly

    • Smoking causes bad breath and stained teeth.
    • Some teens say that kissing someone who smokes is like kissing an ashtray.
    • Smoking often makes other people not want to be around you.
    • Smoking stinks. If you smoke you may not smell smoke on you, but other people do.
    • Studies show that most teens would rather date someone who doesn't smoke.

Smoking costs a lot of money
Do the math: One pack of cigarettes per day = $3  
Multiplied by the days in a year x 365  Yearly cost for cigarettes = $1,095  
That's more than $1,000 a year that you could be spending on CDs, clothes, a car, or college.
But think about this:

    • One third of all new smokers will eventually die of smoking-related diseases.
    • Nearly 90% of all smokers started when they were teens.

Do yourself a favor, don't smoke.

Published online: 3/07 Source: Tobacco: Straight Talk for Teens (Copyright © 2004 American Academy of Pediatrics)


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Parents: Prevent Teen Smoking

Between one-half and one-third of youth who try a cigarette will go on to become daily smokers, according to the American Legacy Foundation, a national tobacco education organization funded by the 1998 tobacco company settlement. Because of the highly addictive nature of nicotine, anti-smoking campaigns work hard to prevent teens from ever trying that first cigarette.

Parenting Tips To Keep Your Kids From Smoking (adapted from the American Legacy Foundation):

    • Be a role model for your children. Children of smokers are twice as likely as kids from nonsmoking homes to try a cigarette or smoke regularly.

    • If you smoke, try to quit. Enlist your family's support. Seeing how difficult it is for you to quit may be enough to keep your kids from starting. At least designate your house and car as smoke-free zones.

    • Be aware of smoking that kids see in movies and on TV. Although tobacco companies are restricted from advertising directly to children, their multibillion-dollar marketing campaigns glamorize tobacco use.

    • Tell your children about the side effects of smoking. Smoking damages athletic ability and causes wrinkles, stinky breath and stained teeth, not to mention lung and heart diseases.

    • If teens do start to smoke, encourage them to quit. By quitting, people can add years to their lives. It isn't easy, but every attempt should be considered a success.

    • Think beyond cigarettes. Smokeless tobacco, hookahs, clove cigarettes and candy-flavored cigarettes are addictive and can cause cancer and other health problems. Many have higher concentrations of nicotine, carbon monoxide and tar than do traditional cigarettes.

Resources to Help Protect Children from Tobacco and to Help Adults Quit

    Secondhand Smoke Reduction California EPA’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) OEHHA’s overall mission is to protect and enhance public health and the environment by scientific evaluation of risks posed by hazardous substances.

    Secondhand Tobacco Smoke & Children's Health (PDF)

    El humo de tabaco de segunda mano y la salud de los ninos (PDF)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Smoke-Free Homes
    This site offers a wealth of information on the health effects of secondhand smoke on children and helps families establish a smoke-free home.

    Helping Smokers to Quit
    1-800-QUIT-NOW is the toll-free national telephone counseling service to help people stop smoking or quit other forms of tobacco use.

    Become an EX
    This free Quit Plan sponsored by the American Legacy Foundation utilizes a systematic program to help prepare a customized quitting plan for each person.


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