Smoking is a disgusting habit, we all know that! But, did you know that 9 out of 10 smokers tasted their first fag when they were kids? More than 100,000 people die every year due to smoking, with most of them being children.
Tobacco is a plague to society, and children are the worst off. Peer pressure plays a huge role in enticing children to try smoking, so do the vividly colored and exquisitely designed cigarette packets. For some, it’s about doing something forbidden, while others simply find it cool and stylish.
So what can you do to help and encourage your kids to never pick up the habit? Well, making them aware of the true dangers of smoking at an early age is the best way to start. So MomJunction has compiled a list of facts about smoking that you can share with your kids. Have a look at them below!
Smoking Facts For Kids:
1. Do You Know What’s In A Cigarette?
Lead, tar, arsenic, ammonia and acetone are a few of the 600 ingredients found in a cigarette. And when it is burned, it creates more than 70000 chemicals. Around 69 of these chemicals can cause cancer.
[ Read: Effects Of Secondhand Smoke on Children ]
2. Smoking Is Poisonous:
Cigarettes contain thousands of chemicals that don’t just taste horrible, but are poisonous too! The body tries to get rid of the poison by making one sick. That’s why smokers feel sick and dizzy all the time. It is their body trying to protect them.
3. Children Are More Susceptible To The Cigarette Advertising And Marketing:
Yes, that’s true! 9 out of 10 young smokers prefer Camel, Newport or Marlboro, the three most heavily advertised brands while just 6 out of 10 smokers aged 26 or more prefer these brands.
A survey conducted in 2012 found that kids were more likely to recall tobacco advertising than adults. Just 1 out of 4 adults in the study remembered seeing a tobacco ad two weeks before the survey, and around 2 out of 4 kids aged 12 to 17 remembered seeing tobacco ads.
A study conducted by a “Journal of the National Cancer Institute” found that teens are more likely to be obsessed by cigarette smoking than peer pressure. Similarly, the Journal of the American Medical Association study found that one-third of underage experimentation with smoking was attributed to the marketing efforts of the tobacco company.
3. It’s Hard To Quit Smoking:
Bad habits do not go quickly, and same is the case with smoking. Cigarette contains nicotine, an addictive drug that makes it difficult to stop smoking. When a person tries to quit smoking, the levels of nicotine drop drastically, making the smoker want more. The body becomes physically dependent on this drug, making it tough to stop smoking.
[ Read: Air Pollution Facts For Kids ]
4. It Stinks:
The smoke from the cigarette stick to the hair, clothes and makes the breath smell horrible. Young adults who smoke do not realize how bad they smell to the other people. It also turns the fingers and teeth yellow, and skin looks unhealthy too!
Besides the bad breath, smoking also irritates the throat and eyes, increases the blood pressure and heart beat, reduces immunity, causes tooth decay and gum diseases.
Smoking is also the biggest cause of COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases). COPD is an umbrella term for a range of conditions like chronic bronchitis and emphysema. It also damages the airways and lungs, which leads to the development of the long-term medical condition.
5. Smoking Kills:
Roughly, 1 out of 3 young smokers die prematurely from smoking-caused diseases. Smoking damages the lungs, making it harder for children to run and play with their friends. It also makes a person a lot more likely to suffer from asthma and other respiratory diseases. If the current smoking rate continues, 5.5 million kids alive today will die prematurely from smoking.
6. Patch And Gum Will Increase The Chances Of Quitting:
Smokers believe that nicotine replacement therapy or NRT like nicotine gum, patches and lozenges are ineffective. But in reality, it can help quit smoking. Even researchers say that NRT can double the possibility of quitting smoking successfully.
7. Smoking Is Expensive:
Approximately, 1.6 million cigarette packets are purchased annually by children. Believe us, kids and adults waste a lot of money in smoking. It is estimated that smoking 20 cigarettes a day for five years would cost £8000.
[ Read: Pollution Facts For Kids ]
8. Higher Addiction Rate:
The addiction rate for smoking is much higher than the addiction rate for alcohol, marijuana or the cocaine. The symptoms of nicotine addiction can occur after weeks or just a few months after the first experimentation with smoking. Since adolescence is a crucial period of growth and development, exposure to nicotine can have an adverse effect on brain development.
9. Time Frame:
The National Institutes of Health in 2012 reported that the most common time frame for experimenting smoking is from 6th to 9th grade. 16 out of 100 high school students, usually of the 9th to 12th grades are current smokers, which includes 15 girls, and around 17 boys out of 100. Just 6% of 8th graders are reported to have their first cigarette before the 6th grade. The research conducted by the “Journal of Adolescent Health” in 2013 found that the peer pressure on smoking was greatest during the middle school years. The peer influence weakens during the transition from medium to high school. But unfortunately, the habit of smoking in most of children continues.
10. Hazards Of Second Hand Smoke:
Even if one does not smoke, just being around people who smoke can cause health problems. Secondhand smoke is dangerous for people of all ages. It causes more than 41000 deaths every year. Lung cancer and lung infection are the most common health hazards associated with smoking. Other than these itching, reddening, and watering of the eyes, earaches and wheezing are also health effects. Here is few other information about smoking for kids :
In a crowded restaurant, smoking can produce ten times more pollution of a busy highway.
Even pets suffer from secondhand smoke. It can cause enlarged hearts or even leukemia in dogs.
Secondhand smoke fills the air with the same poison found in the air around the toxic waste dumps.
11. Smokeless Tobacco:
You must have heard about smokeless tobacco, a sticky, chewing gum like substance with a tobacco flavor. It’s also called “spit tobacco,” “chewing tobacco” and “snuff.” Most children think that smokeless tobacco does not harm. But that is not true! Eating this stuff can cause mouth ulcers, sores, bleeding gums and even cancer in extreme cases. In addition to these, smokeless tobacco can also cause hiccups, bad breath and staining of the teeth. Isn’t that gross?
12. Social Effects:
According to a study conducted by the Surgeon General, teens who smoke are three times more likely to drink alcohol, 22 times more liable to use cocaine and eight times more likely to smoke marijuana. It is also reported that cigarette smokers are more likely to carry weapons, get into fights, suffer from mental health problems, and attempt suicide.
13. Places Where Smoking Were Banned:
Smoking in public areas and workplaces was banned in Scotland in 2006. A similar law was introduced in Northern Ireland and Wales in England in July 2007 and April 2007. Since the introduction of the smoking ban, there has been a reduction in the effect of passive smoking in England. Results from the Department of Health’s Smoke-free study show a substantial improvement in air quality. The report also showed that the smokers felt more inclined to quit following the ban.
14. Smokers Stick Together:
Kids who smoke are more likely to have friends who smoke. The US Surgeon General opines that it’s the result of both friend selection and socialization. And as mentioned before, children learn about smoking by hanging around with people who smoke. The decision to smoke is reinforced by a desire to be accepted by peers. Kids who smoke tend to make friends with other smokers and even reinforce their decision to smoke.
[ Read: Stone Age Facts For Kids ]
15. Dangers Of Smoking During Pregnancy:
Women who smoke during pregnancy have more miscarriages, stillbirths, and premature deliveries than women who do not smoke. It also increases the risk of complications during childbirth and pregnancy, increasing the possibility of SID (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).
16. All Cigarettes Are Deadly:
Most of the people believe that smoking tobacco with descriptions such as ‘mild’ or ‘light’ is less harmful to health as compared to smoking regular tobacco. But again, that’s not true. The tar and nicotine content of these so-called ‘light’ or ‘mild’ cigarette is same as the regular cigarette and may deliver even more carbon dioxide than regular cigarettes.
17. A Leading Preventable Cause Of Death:
In the United States, more than 480,000 people die of smoking and tobacco consumption and even exposure to second-hand smoke, making it one of the leading preventable causes of death in the country. It means that those who lost their lives due to smoking could live much longer had they not smoked.
18. Parents Can Make a Difference:
Peer pressure can be very stressing, but it cannot outdo the importance of parents. A study by the “Journal of Applied Psychology” discovered the link between parent’s views on tobacco and smoking in children. Surgeon general’s 1994 and 2012 reports cited that lack of parental involvement could pose a significant risk. A higher-quality parent-child relationship defined by factors like involvement, determined by factors kike involvement, support and closeness can reduce the chances of smoking.
A Few More Facts:
- Electronic cigarettes are the newest tobacco product in the market, but its safety and potential health consequences are still unknown.
- Cigars have the same health effects as a cigarette, which includes causing cancer.
- 11.5% high school students turn smoker by the time they leave school.
- With 18%, white high school students have the highest smoking rate, followed, but the Hispanics (14%) and African-Americans (8.2%).
- The tobacco companies spend $9.6 million people every day to promote their deadly product. That’s around $26 million every day. And much of that marketing strategy directly reaches and influences children.
- Around 1500 kids are killed every year by the fires in the home caused by cigarettes. The tobacco industry even has the science to make self-extinguishing cigarettes, but they never use it.
- Cigarette butts are one of the biggest causes of pollution on the beaches.
- Every day, about 3900 kids between the age 12 and 17 start smoking.
- A survey found that 87% children rated plain packaging as uncool and said that they wouldn’t like to be seen with plain packs of cigarette.
- Not just cigarettes, even hookah smoke has been shown to contain concentrations of toxins like tar, nicotine, carbon monoxide and heavy metals that are as high as or even greater than the cigarette smoke.
- Smoking is illegal until one turns 12 years old and people who buy and sell cigarettes to young people are breaking the law.
- In Canada, cigarette smoking causes around 37,000 deaths each year. In fact, tobacco kills more people in Canada that the deaths caused by suicide, murders, drug abuse and traffic accidents aside.
- A person who smokes dies ten years earlier than a non-smoker.
- Every cigarette that one smokes reduces the expected life span by 11 minutes.
- About 69% of + have tried to quit smoking entirely.
- Moe than 1/3 of the world’s smokers are Chinese. That’s more than the entire population of the United States.
- Over 30% of cancer can be prevented by avoiding alcohol and tobacco.
- The first European who learned to smoke from the natives was arrested because people thought he was possessed by the devil.
- Smoking near Apple computers can void the warranty.
- Hitler led the first anti-smoking campaign in modern history.
- Teen smokers are more likely to have anxiety disorders, panic attacks, and depression.
- Smoking increases, the risk of heart attach 200 to 400% greater than the non-smokers.
- In 2010, Ardi Rizal, a two-year-old boy from Indonesia because infamous for having a 40 a day smoking habit.
- Girls who smoke are a lot more likely to grow excess facial hair.
- Teenagers who smoke have more trouble sleeping than people who do not smoke.
- Smoking makes the hair turn gray faster.
- Parents who smoke are more likely to have children who smoke.
So establish a good communication with your kid to make it easier for him to work through this tricky issue.
How would you recommend tackling a young smoker? Tell us by commenting below!
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