Don't Smoke | Teen Ink

Don't Smoke

July 3, 2009
By Jarett Kallas GOLD, Hartland, Wisconsin
Jarett Kallas GOLD, Hartland, Wisconsin
11 articles 0 photos 1 comment

In 2006, an anonymous survey was taken among American teenagers involving their daily habits. The results are discomforting to say the least. 631,000 drank, 586,000 used marijuana, almost 50,000 used inhalants, 27,000 used hallucinogens, 13,000 used cocaine, and 3,800 used heroin on an average day (Yolton, 2005). However, the most stunning statistic was that 1.2 million admitted to using cigarettes daily. Our planet is facing the largest epidemic since the plague, bigger than AIDS, illegal drugs, genocide, and bird flu combined. An epidemic is defined by the American Heritage Dictionary as Spreading widely, generally prevailing, or affecting great numbers (Smith, 2008). I would definitely say that smoking cigarettes qualifies as an epidemic. Smoking tobacco is the number one leading cause of preventable death in the world and in the United States affecting everyone young, old, and in between.

Every year 5.4 million people die of diseases caused by smoking. To put this number into perspective, the population of Wisconsin is 5.36 million. If everyone in Wisconsin suddenly died in the course of one year, it would not equal how many people die per year from smoking. About 3000 people died in the terrorist attacks of 9/11, that many people die from smoking every 5 hours. American Teens are the ones hardest hit. Tobacco advertisement appeals mostly to teenagers, spending billions trying to con teens into through throwing away their lives for profit. They use a smorgasbord of mediums from subliminal advertisement to promotional t-shirts and baseball caps. Tobacco advertising also appeals to teenager’s incessant desire to be cool and fit in by depicting so-called cool people smoking. Teens are most at risk for these methods of advertising and it shows in the statistics. In 2006, 1 in five twelfth graders smoked cigarettes daily, and 90% of all smokers in the U.S. begin before the age of 21 (Horn, 2006).

Smoking is much more dangerous when you’re young because your body is still growing and is more susceptible to damage. Studies show that someone who starts smoking aged 15 is three times more likely to die of cancer due to smoking than someone who starts in their late twenties. From the Marlboro Man to super slim models the media directed at kids depicts smoking as cool and popular.

The truth; however, is quite the opposite smoking may be popular but it is definitely not cool. All of you know that smoking kills a lot of people and causes cancer, but who cares? right? I mean, you are a healthy sixteen year old, you’re not going to get cancer or heart disease. You are invincible, that stuff is for old people. Besides, it’s only one; well one cigarette is all it takes to become addicted. As the song from the popular commercial goes, “you don’t always die from tobacco.” This is very true, while you might not die right away; smoking tobacco has a number of minor adverse side effects that will affect you in a major way. Smoking restricts your blood vessels which can prevent oxygen and nutrients from getting to the skin increasing wrinkles and causing you to appear pale and unhealthy. It also increases the risk of psoriasis, a skin disease that causes an itchy, unattractive, red rash to develop on your skin. Smoking cigarettes also often leaves the consumer with a condition called halitosis. This condition causes one to have severe, persistent bad breath. Your breath; however, wont be the only thing that smells. Cigarette smoke causes furniture, hair, clothes, and cars to have an unpleasant, stale odor that is very difficult to get rid of. Furthermore, if you plan on playing sports you can forget about it. Smoking steadily destroys your circulatory system causing rapid heartbeat, decreased circulation, and shortness of breath. Cigarettes also block the production of collagen, so common sports injuries, such as damage to tendons and ligaments, and minor cuts and bruises will heal more slowly in smokers than nonsmokers. You are also much more likely to develop illness like the flu, bronchitis, pneumonia and colds. You also run the risk of developing long term respiratory illnesses like asthma. Some teens try to smoke instead of eating as a way to lose weight so their bodies lack the nutrients they need to grow, develop, and fight off illness properly.

Smoking does not just attack the circulatory system, it actually affects every single organ in your body. Once the nicotine, which is the active ingredient of cigarettes, enters the blood stream through the lungs it travels to the brain. Once the drugs reach the brain they cause a chemical imbalance that can cause insomnia, irritability, anxiety, depression, and has been linked to many other, more serious effects. Regular smokers make up 50% of all psychiatric outpatients, 90% of schizophrenic patients, 70% of manic-depressive patients, and 90% of alcoholics (Yolton, 2005).

These make up only a fraction of the many health problems that smoking can cause so you can see how the problems caused greatly outweigh any possible benefit that smoking cigarettes may have. The truth is that the health problems are only part of the problems cigarettes bring up. they can also create heavy financial strain on a person too. The US Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services

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This article has 1 comment.

hutchinsonj said...
on Oct. 1 2009 at 6:29 pm
I believe that smoking is bad for your health. One of your quotes was, "Every year 5.4 million people die of diseases caused by smoking." That is possibly true because smoking gives an increased risk for many health problems. You also said, "The truth is that the health problems are only part of the problems cigarettes bring up." This is also true because packs of cigarettes are expensive.