teenage smoking





This is a story about Stephanie. When she was 16 she had her first cigarette, in the back of her friends car. Her friend lit up a cigarette for herself and then offered Stephanie one. Stephanie knew that smoking was bad for you, but everyone else she knew had tried it. She wanted to feel like she fit in. She smoked the cigarette and thought to herself, “Hey, this is pretty cool. I feel so relaxed. Two years later, Stephanie was a senior and smoking a pack a day. She found it hard to make it through her eight hour school day without having a smoke. She knew she was addicted, but liked the fact that she was part of the smoking crowd in her school. Four years later and about 450 packs of cigarettes later, Stephanie was in college, and addicted as ever. She knew she wanted to quit, but didn’t think she could hack it with all the stress of college. She wished that she had never had that first cigarette when she was 16, because she wouldn’t be addicted now. If there had been a law, prohibiting teenage smoking, she never would have started.
According to the National Institute of drug abuse, each day, 3,000 teens smoke their first cigarette. That is more that one million annually. Despite government attempts, teenage smoking is rising in alarming numbers. In fact, in Ohio 35 percent of high-school kids smoke. A number way above the 24 percent of adult smokers. Ohio needs a tough law to prohibit teens from smoking, so that these percentages will be smaller in upcoming years.
The government needs to target teenagers, because they will become the future smokers. Instead of concentrating on addicted adults, they should be preventing young people from starting. It is hard to get adults who have been smoking for numerous years to stop. It’s much easier to prevent youth from starting. In January of 1998, cigarette manufacturer, Philip Morris, admitted that the company had monitored the smoking habits of people as young as twelve because, “today’s teenager is tomorrow’s potential customer.” This is a very true statement. According to a Bill introduced into the House of Representatives this past April, “almost 90 percent of adult smokers began at or before age 18.” And people who begin smoking at an early age are more likely to develop severe levels of nicotine addiction than those who start at a later age. According to these finding, the government would find it easier to prevent teenage smoking from starting, than to deal with the repercussions of it later.
Teenage smoking is a problem for various reasons. It is a serious danger to health. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, smoking is responsible for and estimated one in five U.S. deaths and costs the U.S. at least $92 billion each year in health care costs and lost productivity. Cigarette smoking during childhood and adolescence produces significant heath problems among young people, including cough and phlegm production, and an increase in the number and severity of resperatory illnesses, decreased physical fitness, and potential retardation in the rate of lung growth and the level of maximum lung function. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, more Americans die each year from smoking related illnesses than Americans that are killed each year by AIDS, alcohol, car accidents, murders, suicides, illegal drugs, and fires combined.” Now that is the best proof I can think of that smoking is bad problem.
Although most teens are aware of the risk factors, many still continue to smoke. According to Trish Fraser, a trustee of the Smoke-free Coalition, when kids were asked why they started smoking, they gave two contradictory answers. They wanted to be part of a crowd. Children do not want to be left out, they want to be wanted. If their peers are smoking, than they will want to smoke as well. They want to reach out and rebel at the same time.
The government has issued regulations to limit the accessibility and appeal of tobacco products to young people. Steps to control underage smoking have not helped. Even under penalty of the law, businesses continue to sell tobacco products to minor. Vendors now have to card any