Although child development experts at the Kids Health website report that four out of five teenagers do not smoke, it is still a problem and temptation for adolescents, especially in the cases of rebellion or trying to fit in with friends. According to the Mayo Clinic website, most adult smokers started as teenagers, so it is especially important to educate teens in order to reduce health risks and instances of addiction.
Smoking contributes to heart disease and various types of cancer, such as cancer of the lungs, throat and stomach. It also increases the risk of health issues like pneumonia and bronchitis. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics' HealthyChildren.org, the carbon monoxide inhaled from smoking takes oxygen from the body and introduces toxic chemicals. Smoking during the teen years and continuing through adulthood prolongs exposure to the dangers of smoking.
The nicotine in cigarettes is addictive. Signs of nicotine addiction include feeling nervous without cigarettes and experiencing cravings. It can be especially hard for a teenager to quit smoking, because in addition to the challenge that arises from nicotine addiction, peer pressure during the teenage years can be a strong and powerful hindrance.
In addition to health complications and potential addiction, smoking can also contribute to yellowed teeth and an unfavorable smell in clothes and hair, which can impair a teen’s social life. A teenager who smokes might also have a hard time staying active and having energy, especially if he participates in school sports. Smoking is an expensive habit that can be hard to maintain with a teenager’s income.
To educate your teen about smoking, make sure she is aware of the consequences in the areas of health, appearance and expense. Her school might provide anti-smoking classes or materials, and the Mayo Clinic site recommends that you voice your disapproval of smoking, as teens whose parents set the firmest restrictions tend to smoke less. If your teen does develop a smoking habit, look into local community organizations to see what kind of resources they offer for quitting, and talk to her doctor.