The short-term health consequences of smoking include respiratory and non-respiratory effects, addiction to nicotine and the associated risk of other drug use.
Teens who smoke are three times more likely than non-smokers to use alcohol, eight times more likely to use marijuana, and 22 times more likely to use cocaine. Smoking is associated with a host of other risky behaviours, such as fighting. Teenage smokers are more likely to visit doctor for an emotional or psychological complaint.
Long-term health consequences are lower level of lung function. Smoking reduces the rate of lung growth. Teenage smokers suffer from shortness of breath and produce more phlegm. Smoking at an early age increases the risk of lung cancer. Poor physical fitness and endurance. The resting heart rates of young adult smokers beats per minute faster.
Most teens think that they can stop smoking easily. Only 3 in 100 high school smokers think they will be smoking in five years. In fact, 60 in 100 will still be smoking seven to nine years later. It will take 16 to 20 years of addicted smoking before the average person who started smoking as a teen will be able to successfully quit.
Parents need to look out for telltale signs of smoking and tobacco use, here are
Do your kid’s clothes, hair and fingers smell of smoke?
Have you spotted matches or lighters in the room or their bag?
Has he been leaving the windows in his bedroom open for no reason?
Are there burn holes in the clothing?
Has he started using mouthwash, breath mints or gum?
Does he or she have friends who smoke?
Here are some things you can do to help your children avoid the dangers of smoking:
Teachers have a great influence on young people, so they should not use tobacco around students. Take time out to talk to students about tobacco and its consequences.
8-14 years: Educate by giving brochures on tobacco cessation, enlist their support at a young age to create an anti- tobacco attitude much before they are offered tobacco from a peer or adult.
14-21 years: This is the toughest period, since the majority of new users come from this age group. Inform them about the dangers of tobacco use and suggest healthy alternatives.
21 years and older: These people may need extra help with nicotine withdrawal. So, the doctor can ascertain their desire to quit and offer an alternative if they need one. Don’t badger, just let them know that you care and can help.
Counseling at TCC Centre will go a long way for a tobacco-free life.