Essay on Tobacco and Nicotine Use Among Teens
In the world we live in, there are many forms of tobacco or nicotine-infused substances that pose a threat to teens. The effects of tobacco affect the user and the surrounding people. These effects can stay with the user for the rest of their life.
In fact, tobacco effects on teens are long-lasting. “Around one-third of American teenagers use cigarettes. Getting hooked in high school also hurts their chances of quitting. Only 1 out of 10 teen smokers quit. (Ayer) Teens who get addicted usually keep smoking for the rest of their life. Nearly 21% of high school students smoke. To put it into perspective, that’s too many teens using something originally meant for adults.” (Ayer) Additionally, many people are beginning to smoke just because of their friends. This is called peer pressure. (Keyshian) Peer pressure is something all teens know and goes against at a time.
If your friends are trying to persuade you to smoke, you need to stand up for yourself and say no.. Saying no is all it takes to not smoke. With getting addicted, there will be effects. One common long-term effect of smoking is lung cancer. Lung cancer is caused by the years of breathing in deadly chemicals made by smoking. “Women who smoke and take birth control are ten times as likely to suffer from a heart attack.” (Keyshian, 2 & 3)
Furthermore, many people are still smoking in the current age. With electricity and portable batteries, someone invented the E-cigarette. The E-cig is just an electric cigarette. Although, there is one main difference between the electric and the original. The electric cigarette creates water vapor, or aerosol, that the user breathes in and out. This is called vaping. The aerosol that is created originates from a liquid that has nicotine within it. This nicotine in e-cigs is the same kind found in tobacco. A vast amount of teens are vaping because they think it’s ‘safer.’ Just because you and a group of others may think something, it doesn’t make it the correct. “The group of teens who use e-cigs are four times as likely to smoke later on in life rather than quit.
Researchers from the University of Michigan says vaping may desensitize teens to the dangers of traditional smoking, even if they already know the harms of smoking.” (Knapton) Over the years 2011 to 2015, there has been a 12% increase in girls who vape and a 17% increase in boys who vape. (“Surgeon General”) This increase shows how many people ignore how deadly nicotine products can be. They may not kill directly, but they can directly lead to you smoking a normal cigarette.
Although, just because there isn’t tobacco in vapes, this doesn’t make them safe to use. More and more people are picking up a vape and getting addicted and the numerous amounts of nicotine. JUUL, a tobacco company who mass-produced vapes, has been standing with vapes and giving them absurd titles like safe to use. Many teens believe that if they vape, they will be considered cool by the people they surround themselves with.
Vapes or E-cigs are an effective way for tobacco companies to get people addicted to nicotine. Eventually, most e-cig users switch over to normal cigarettes. In fact, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, around 30% of teens who use E-cigs will switch to the real thing within 6 months. (NIDA) This goes to show how addictive these are and the public doesn’t realize enough of it. The government may be trying to get stricter laws on companies like JUUL but people will always find a way to get their hands of them no matter what.
One reason that has allowed for these E-cigs to live on is the fact that most people aren’t educated about what is inside of it. Sure, basic knowledge is that it has nicotine in it but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any other deadly ingredients. In fact, according to a study in 2016, 66% of E-cigarette users said it is just flavoring in their e-cig and nothing else. (NIDA) That number may have gone down since then but not enough has been done to educate people about this. The manufacturing companies that produce the flavoring aren't legally forced to say what they used to make the flavoring. In other words, that can put whatever they want into the flavoring.
Additionally, there are many ways to be exposed to smoking. Family members or friends can make smoking seem cool and completely fine or maybe even watching an advertisement about smoking will make an individual open to the idea. In the world of advertising, tobacco products have blossomed from where they used to be. “As of 2014, $125 million were spent on advertising e-cigarettes. Today, e-cigarettes are a 2.5 billion dollar industry within the U.S.” (“Surgeon General”) Even though tobacco companies are advertising their products, there are still efforts to stomp out tobacco. According to a court case held in 2017, if a tobacco company makes an ad, the companies are required to state the fact that their products kill.
This now makes it easier to know how deadly this is even when sellers are trying to sell you a cigarette. In addition, there are many movements around the U.S. like Stomp Out Tobacco or The Real Cost. Many of these campaigns are funded by the government. For example, The Real Cost created commercials that showed the drastic effects of smoking within a span of 60 seconds. Other campaigns like Stomp Out Tobacco go to a bunch of schools or schools use their name to promote awareness about smoking.
Tobacco and nicotine products have had their influence on people and the economy for a long time. But now, more than ever, people need to that something so deadly needs to be more strictly controlled. There are many users of these deadly products. More and more of those users are becoming teens. When you smoke, you hurt yourself and the surrounding people. These damages will never leave and will forever be a part of you.
Ayer, Eleanor H. Teen Smoking. Lucent Books, 1999.
Kesmodel, David, and Danny Yadron. “E-Cigarettes Spark New Smoking War.” Aug 2010.
Keyishian, Elizabeth. Everything You Need to Know about Smoking. Rosen Pub. Group, 2003.
“Know the Risks of E-Cigarettes for Young People | Know the Risks: E-Cigarettes & Young People | U.S. Surgeon General's Report.” Know the Risks: E-Cigarettes and Young People | U.S. Surgeon General's Report, e-cigarettes.surgeongeneral.gov/knowtherisks.html.
“Know the Risks.” Smokefree Teen, teen.smokefree.gov/the-risks-of-tobacco/know-the-risks.
“Smoking (for Teens).” Edited by Elana Pearl and Ben Joseph, Kids Health, The Nemours Foundation, June 2016, kidshealth.org/en/teens/smoking.html.
“Teens and E-Cigarettes.” NIDA, National Institute on Drug Abuse, 11 Feb. 2016, www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/trends-statistics/infographics/teens-e-cigarettes.