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Tobacco prevention: Youth and tobacco use

Facts about Nicotine

Nicotine is a highly addictive type of drug which is contained in tobacco and all tobacco products. According to some scientific studies it can be considered equally addictive as cocaine and heroin. The human body absorbs this toxin very quickly, and its effect wears off only after a few hours when the person feels a craving for more nicotine. Nicotine gets to the brain much faster than any other type of drug. It is very efficient in arousing the adrenal glands and helping the body release dopamine in certain portions of the brain which are in charge of controlling the pleasure. Adrenaline which gets pumped from the adrenal gland makes a person experience a rush of excitements while the raised levels of dopamine in the brain lead to the craving and the pleasurable sensations which are so often associated with nicotine.

If a person does not get the regular dose of nicotine, he or she commonly starts to experience the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal and these include difficulty in concentration, a drop in the pulse rate, a drop in blood pressure, aggression, anger, increased appetite, depression and fatigue. It is mainly due to these symptoms why smokers find it hard to quit smoking and face withdrawal problems. Besides these obvious physical problems associated with sudden cessation of nicotine consumption, smokers also tend to experience a series of emotional effects as well. A smoker cannot stop smoking in a crowd, feels that he or she always needs to do something with his or her hands, needs to have a cigarette in certain situations or certain times of the day and so on. All of those elements combined together lead to a very firm habit which is very hard to break.

Statistics

According to certain statistics, tobacco products are the leading health problem in the United States. 2 million Americans use pipes, 7.1 million Americans chew tobacco, 9.7 million Americans smoke cigars while there are more than 52 million American citizens who smoke cigarettes. Most smokers have their first cigarette around the age of 13. Each new day brings along 6,000 new smokers in the United States, and at least half of them get addicted immediately. The tobacco industry spends millions of dollars each year on advertising campaigns which are designed to make teenagers believe that smoking will make them appear cooler. 40 percent of active smokers have tried quitting but they did not succeed in getting rid of this dreadful habit.

Youth Tobacco Use

It is a devastating fact that there are 3,450 teenagers in the United States smoking their first cigarette each day. There are 17.2 high school students who are active smokers, out of which there are 15 percent female students and 20 percent of male high school students. As far as racial differences are concerned, there are 19 percent of white students, 19 percent of Hispanic students, 10 percent of Asian students, 7 percent of African-American students who are smokers.

As for middle school smokers, there are 5 percent female students and 6 percent male students. Another terrifying fact is that there are 11 percent of high school students and even 4 percent of middle school students who indulge in cigar smoking. There are also 2 percent of high school bidi smokers and 2 percent of middle school bidi smokers as well. 7 percent of high school students and 3 percent of middle school students also used smokeless tobacco.

Short and Long Term Effects of Tobacco

Short term effects of tobacco are not that serious but they are still not a pretty sight to behold as they include reeking homes, smelly furniture, smelly cars, smelly clothes, stained fingers, stained teeth, brown teeth, yellow teeth and bad breath.

Those who chew on tobacco commonly suffer from various dental problems such as receding gums, tooth decay, mouth sores and sometimes even certain types of cancer.

Another big problem with tobacco products is that they require excessive amounts of money. A typical smoker spends thousands of dollars to feed his or her filthy habit.

Long term effects of tobacco are numerous but the most common ones include chronic cough, weakened immune system, wrinkled skin, impotence, various complications during pregnancy, miscarriages, decreased levels of physical activity, cirrhosis of the liver, stomach ulcers, duodenal ulcers, chronic lung diseases, cancer of the esophagus, cancer of the vertebrae, cancer of the bladder, cancer of the larynx, cancer of the lungs, cancer of the mouth, osteoporosis, emphysema and heart disease, stroke.

Smokers also pollute the space around them and the second hand smoke from the cigarettes may cause asthma, pneumonia and bronchitis in passive smokers.

Cigarettes contain many harmful substances among which are vinyl chloride, urethane, toluene, tar, hydrogen cyanide, hexamine, cadmium, butane, acetone, ammonia, carbon monoxide, arsenic and formaldehyde. Many of these are confirmed cancerogens which if inhaled on a regular basis eventually trigger certain malignant tumors.

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