Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable illness and death in the United States. It causes many different cancers as well as chronic lung diseases such as emphysema and bronchitis, heart disease, pregnancy-related problems, and many other serious health problems.Because a child’s body is still growing, teens and youth are vulnerable to its deadly effects. Smoking by children and adolescents hastens the onset of lung function decline during late adolescence and early adulthood and is related to impaired lung growth, chronic coughing, and wheezing.
Nicotine is not only highly addictive for youth, it’s poisonous – it can be used as a pesticide on crops, and a drop of pure nicotine would kill a person. Every day, another 1,500 kids become daily smokers, and one-third of them will die prematurely as a result of getting hooked. Even youth who don’t smoke very often can suffer the adverse effects of addiction.
Tobacco can affect youth activities and athletic performance. Tobacco narrows blood vessels and puts a strain on the heart, it also leads to lack of oxygen and shortness of breath. Smokers run slower and can’t run as far as nonsmokers.
- Each day, more than 3,200 people under 18 smoke their first cigarette, and approximately 2,100 youth and young adults become daily smokers.
- 9 out of 10 smokers start before the age of 18, and 98% start smoking by age 26.
- 1 in 5 adults and teenagers smoke.
- In 2011, an estimated 19% of U.S. adults were cigarette smokers.
- Approximately 18% of high school students smoke cigarettes.
- In 2011, nearly 18% of high school boys were current cigar users.
- From 1964 to 2014, the proportion of adult smokers declined from 42.0% to 18.0%.