Satisfactory Essays
The effect of smoking on human health has been the focus of extensive research worldwide for some time. It is perhaps no surprise that research continually shows that nicotine creates a strong dependence that is very difficult to break. In fact, the use of nicotine has been shown to destroy the lining of lungs, hasten the onset of emphysema, and in many cases, cause lung cancer. Nevertheless, the age group most likely to begin smoking and the least likely to kick the habit is that of teenagers. More than ever, it is important that research focus on the unique effects of smoking on teens, including the particular structural, chemical, and health concerns.
The medical community agrees that smoking cigarettes leads to structural and chemical changes in the developing brains of adolescents. In addition, smoking teens are more vulnerable to alcohol and drug addiction and even to mental illness (The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse). In fact, teens who smoke are nine times more likely to meet the medical criteria for abuse and dependence on an illegal drug compared with teens who do not smoke, according to research by the Bradford Center for Recovery. Stopping kids from ever smoking could have a huge health effect, the panel says: Smoking kills about 443,000 people a year in the United States, and 90% of smokers start before age 18.
The report, Nicotine: Hidden Dangers, sounds an alarm for those concerned with children’s health. The report cites findings that show that teens who smoke are prone to mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety disorders. “We have known for quite some time that smoking contributes to devastating illnesses such as cancers, and cardiovascular diseases. Now we see the crippling effects that...

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...econd-hand smoke.
“A large portion of kids who use tobacco are smoking products other than cigarettes, including cigars and hookahs, which are similarly dangerous,” said Tim McAfee, M.D., M.P.H., director of the CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health. Eighty percent of smokers begin the habit before the age of 18, so it is critically important to educate parents and children on the dangers of such addiction. The developing brains of teens, who are highly vulnerable to personal, social, and media influences to begin smoking, is reason enough to make every attempt to reach them with information about tobacco before they begin to smoke. Armed with knowledge of the devastating effects of nicotine addiction, professionals and parents must take steps to educate children who will likely face disease and early death if they follow in the footsteps of so many teens before them.
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