Teens Should Not Be Allowed to Smoke Faizan Sadiq

Essay by Faizy123High School, 11th gradeA+, December 2008

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Why is it that most smokers start to smoke as a teen? For attention, to fit in, to loose weight, to look cool? There are many reasons teens start to smoke, many foolish reasons. What they don't understand is that once they start, it's hard to quit and they get addicted. Most teens are aware that people who have smoked for awhile can get lung cancer and other diseases and eventually die, but many don't know about all of the bad things that smoking can do to them right now. Everyday, almost 4000 children under 18 will smoke for the first time, of which 2000 will become addicted. Teens should not be smoking-- at all! Teens are being influenced by tobacco advertisements. If teens are smoking around friends that don't, they are causing harm to their body by secondhand smoke. Smoking is causing damage to their education and is changing them.

The most important thing teens don't understand is that they are causing so much harm to their bodies by letting so much harmful chemicals into their body each day.

Tobacco companies are now targeting teens, why? It is because "today's teenager's are tomorrow's possible regular customers, and the overwhelming majority of smokers first begin to smoke while in their teens."# So tobacco companies made tobacco campaigns to try and lure teens into smoking. Ads include strong facts about independence, freedom, popularity, and social acceptance. Teens feeling insecure about there appearance get the message that from smoking all that can happen. Companies specifically target females for many years, by linking many brands with slimness. One way tobacco companies target teens is through the media. The more teens see actors smoking in TV shows and movies, the more teens will want to try it themselves. "Non-smoking teens whose favourite stars frequently smoke on screen are sixteen times more likely to have positive attitudes about smoking in the future."# Tobacco companies also try making cigarettes look cool. For example, The Simpson's. Nearly all the characters including children have been seen smoking on the show. Teens get inspired by this, in a bad way.

Everyone knows smoking is a bad idea and that breathing in someone else's secondhand smoke is also hazardous to their health. It may seem pretty harmless, but secondhand smoke actually contains thousands of chemicals, of which many can cause cancer. Secondhand smoke increases a person's risk for respiratory infections, asthma, coughing, sore throats, sneezing, heart disease, or cancer. Each year in Canada, more than 1000 non-smokers die from secondhand smoke. Teens may have friends that are non-smokers and are smoking around them not realizing that the secondhand smoke is harming their friends also. If a teen or anyone else smokes they should be smoking outside away from nonsmokers and they should never smoke inside a car with people. It has been scientifically proven that secondhand smoke is dangerous, so if smokers listen to these simple steps secondhand smoke will stay away from other people. Teens may also have younger siblings that they smoke around. Secondhand smoke is even more dangerous for kids because they have weak immune systems and they breath in more tobacco smoke.

More than one third of high school students smoke, causing them to fall back in their education. As teens smoke, they gradually stop caring about their education. They feel as if they're not a part of the school. As teens get more and more addicted to smoking they will start to skip classes to go smoke. They will not perform as well in classes because their concentration will be gone. If a teen is really addicted, their marks could possibly drop lower. Putting all these facts together a teens future could be in trouble. Even if a teen stops smoking after high school, smoking will follow them around. Due to low marks, teens will not have a good job, or they might not even get one.

When teens smoke they start to change, their attitude towards people, personality, appearance. Teens only hang out with other smokers leaving their old friends out. They're always crabby at people like their parents, friends, strangers. This is because of smoking. They start to steal cigarettes or money, they bribe people for cigarettes. Teens buy fake ID's or lie about their age at stores. Their whole personality changes, making them good to bad. Looking at a teen, someone could tell if they smoke or not. It's because of their appearance, they're dirty, don't take care of themselves, but some teens are absolutely clean but someone could still tell if they smoke by seeing the people they hang around with.

A cigarette contains about 4000 chemicals, of which many are poisonous. What teens don't realize is that those chemicals are going into their body every time they light a cigarette. Smoking is really dangerous for health, and every time a teen smokes a cigarette they loose 5-20 minutes of their life. Smoking causes many diseases, which could be long-term or short-term. Over the long-term, smoking leads to health problems such as cancer, organ damage, and heart disease. Smoking is the leading cause to lung cancer. Cigarette smoke damages the lungs in two ways, harmful chemicals from cigarettes settle into the lungs which develop into cancer tumors and smoke destroys an important cleansing layer in the lungs, which causes a build-up of mucus. The result is smokers' cough, a way that the lungs try to clean themselves. If a teen stops smoking, they will greatly reduce the risk of lung cancer by those who continue. Smoking also increases the risk of strokes. The risk of getting a stroke is 50% higher in smokers then non-smokers. As smokers, teens are also at risk for mouth cancer. Tobacco can also cause gum disease, tooth decay, twice as much cavities then non-smokers, and bad breath. Short term diseases include nicotine addiction, dizziness, coughs and colds, high/low blood pressure. Some obvious changes are bad breath, stained fingers, and stained fingernails. If a teen stops smoking all these short-term affects will eventually go away.

The times are changing, and even though less and less teens are smoking each year, there still thousands smoking, and dying. Dying because of all the harmful chemicals going into their body, but teens still don't care and continue to smoke, saying nothing will happen to them. Smoking interferes with education and teens have lots of problems in the future concerning their career, and it's all because of the bad choice they made of smoking. If teens weren't fooled by the power of tobacco companies they could have the power to stay smoke-free.

"Smoking can have serious effects on a teens life. The longer they smoke, the more damage it does to their body and their health. Most people who begin smoking as teens say that they wish they had never started. The decision to start or continue smoking is all up to them and no one can make them stop, but they should think really hard about whether it is the best thing for their body and their life."#It can be up to parents if their teen smokes. If parents smoke their kids are more likely to start smoking. There are many ways parents can prevent their teens from smoking; understand the attraction (cigarette ads, friends smoking), say no to teen smoking, set a good example and don't smoke, take addiction seriously, talk about the affects of cigarettes, and the people around them that would get affected. Whether or not teens realize it or not they are causing damage to their future, hurting family and friends, and most of all they are causing damage to themselves.

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