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Teens and Tobacco

Nearly nine out of ten smokers first tried cigarettes by age 18, and 99 percent first tried cigarettes by age 26. Each day in the U.S., more than 3,200 youth ages 18 and younger smoke their first cigarette, and an estimated 2,100 youth and young adults who have been occasional smokers become daily cigarette smokers.

If smoking persists at the current rate among youth, 5.6 million of today’s Americans 18 years and younger are projected to die prematurely from a smoking-related illness.

The Ohio Department of Health has identified curbing tobacco use as one of its top four priorities for improving the health of Ohioans. The Tobacco Use Prevention and Cessation Program focuses on three aims to achieve this:

  • Preventing Youth Initiation
  • Increasing Quitting
  • Protecting Ohioans from Exposure to Secondhand Smoke

Did you know?

Nicotine addiction-related diseases will prematurely kill one-third of young smokers?

Youth smokers prematurely age?

Toxic substances in tobacco products that are inhaled or swallowed are known to cause lung, bladder, and mouth and throat (pharynx-larynx-esophagus) cancer?

Lung and breathing problems youth smokers face include coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, increased phlegm, respiratory illnesses and worse cold and flu symptoms. These can lead to chronic lung diseases such as emphysema and bronchitis.

Other smoking-related health problems youth face over time include increased headaches from blood vessel disease which lead to increased risk of heart attacks and stroke.  They can also look forward to gum disease, hearing loss and vision problems.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a fact sheet that shows the relationship between youth tobacco use and reduced academic performance. Learn more here.

Effects of Tobacco

Take some time to explore how deadly and dangerous tobacco can be to you and your loved ones: