Some kids may start smoking just because they are curious. Others may like the idea of doing something dangerous something that grownups don't want them to do. Still others might know lots of people who smoke and they might think it's a way to act or look like an adult.
Kids can't really think far into the future to worry about an illness they might not get for many years.
The problems that might affect kids more quickly:
- Bad breath
- yellow teeth
- smelly clothes
- more colds and coughs
- difficulty keeping up with friends when playing sports
- Empty wallet — cigarettes and tobacco products are very expensive
Here are something more about cigarettes and tobacco:
If you have friends who smoke or use tobacco, you can help them by encouraging them to quit. Here are some reasons you can mention:
- It will hurt their health.
- It will make their breath stinky.
- It will turn their teeth yellow.
- It will give them less endurance when running or playing sports.
- It's expensive.
- It's illegal to buy cigarettes when you're underage.
If you think it will help, you could print out articles like this one to give to a friend who smokes. He or she may be interested in learning more about the dangers of smoking.
But people don't like to hear that they're doing something wrong, so your friend also could be a little angry. If that happens, don't push it too much. In time, your friend may realize you are right.
Almost 70% of adult smokers began smoking before they turned 18. Most smokers try their first cigarette around the age of 11, and many are addicted by the time they turn 14. So why do kids start smoking in the first place?
- Their parents are smokers.
- Peer pressure, their friends encourage them to try cigarettes, and to keep smoking.
- They see smoking as a way of rebelling and showing independence.
- They think that everyone else is smoking, and that they should, too.
- Tobacco advertising targets them.
In the meantime, it could help to talk with a parent or a school counselor if you're worried about your friend. When your friend is ready, a grownup can help him quit for good. If your friend decides to quit, lend your support. You might say it's time to kick some butts.