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More Teens Taking Up Nasty Habit

Wed., April 3, 1996

Many teens non-smokers and smokers consider cigarettes gross and disgusting, yet more than 3,000 young people in the United States become regular smokers every day.

It’s a wonder that anyone would want to become addicted to such a costly and unhealthy habit. Cigarette smoking is the cause of numerous cancers and other diseases. Even beginning smokers are exposed to mild nicotine poisoning, not to mention what it does to their lungs.

Smokers are also three times more likely than non-smokers to use alcohol, eight times more likely to use marijuana and 22 time more likely to use cocaine. Smoking is also associated with other risky behaviors, such as fighting and engaging in unprotected sex.

Tobacco use is the cause of death of 400,000 Americans yearly. These premature deaths represent one out of every five deaths, a yearly loss of 5 million years of life.

Many non-smokers and even some smokers agree that cigarette smoking is a nasty habit. Brown stains left on the teeth and fingers are traits of some smokers, and then there’s always the terrible smell of ashtray breath.

Not only is cigarette smoking on the rise among teens, but so is smokeless tobacco use. Recent surveys show that one in every five male high school students uses chewing tobacco. Chewing can cause gum disease and cancer of the mouth, pharynx, esophagus and pancreas. It also increases the risk of heart disease and strokes. Not only is smoking unhealthy, but many folks find chewers revolting.

With all of these social and health reasons not to use tobacco, it’s hard to understand why anyone would want to smoke or chew. Peer pressure isn’t even a valid excuse because once people start, chances are they won’t quit.

Let’s hope kids’ health means more to them than impressing their friends. xxxx

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