Smoking and Vaping
Addiction to nicotine is the most common addiction in the United States. It is estimated that 90% of those who smoked began by the age of 18. Regardless if it is electronic or in the form of cigarettes, the use of tobacco products is detrimental to the health of adolescents. Vaping is much more popular than smoking nowadays in teenagers, mainly because of its several flavors and relatively low costs. Educating teens about the risks associated with smoking and vaping helps avoid starting this habit in the first place.
Facts on Smoking
Smoking contains nicotine, a highly addictive substance, and carcinogenic substances such as arsenic.
Each year, there are 480,000 deaths in the United States due to cigarette smoking.
The use of tobacco is one of the leading causes of preventable disease, disability, and death in the United States.
Each day, around 1,600 minors smoke for the first time.
Approximately 16 million people live with diseases caused by smoking.
1 out of 13 children will die prematurely because of smoking-related diseases if smoking continues at its current rate.
Facts on Vaping
Most e-cigarettes contain high levels of nicotine, which causes:
Asking the Experts
Nydia Martinez, MD, FCCP
Q: It is well established that smoking has deleterious effects. Why do you think some teens are still starting this habit and what can be the effects in this age group?
A: There are multiple reasons that explain smoking in teens:
Q: Vaping has become popular among teens and many see it as a healthily alternative to smoking. What is your opinion regarding the effect of vaping in teens?
A very serious problem that our nation's health is facing is underage drinking. The most commonly used substance among young Americans is alcohol, which poses serious consequences to not only the people that drink, but the rest of the population. Underage drinking is when people below the nationally established legal drinking age of 21 drink alcoholic beverages. Peer pressure, the desire for independence, and stress are some of the many factors that contribute to underage drinking.
Facts on Alcohol
Excessive alcohol use causes approximately 95,000 deaths each year in the United States.
In 2019, 29% of high school students were drinking alcohol, 5% drove after drinking, and 17% rode with drivers that have been drinking.
Drinking early in life is related to excessive drinking in later years.
210,000 years of potential life are lost by underage drinking each year.
Signs of Underage Drinking
Changes in mood
Academic problems in school
Problems with coordination
Declining interest in activities or hygiene
Changes in sleeping pattern
Underage Drinking Complications
Problems at school
Effects on health
Brain development disruption
Affected growth and development
Physical and sexual violence
Unwanted/unprotected sexual activity
Risk of suicide and homicide
Increased risk of usage of other drugs
High-risk drug use is drug use by adolescents that can lead to injury, crime, school dropout, and death. Curiosity, peer pressure, emotional struggles, and stress are some of the reasons why teens start using drugs. Recognizing what drug use entails can prevent these problems from arising.
Facts on Teen Drug Abuse
6% of 12th graders smoke marijuana every day.
About half of high-schoolers have ever tried marijuana.
20% of twelve graders used prescription medicine without a prescription.
15% of high schoolers reported having ever used illegal drugs.
K2 or spice
Some seizure medications
Opioids (controlled pain medications like morphine and oxycodone)
Over- the-counter medicines
The legalization of recreational marijuana in some states has led to an increase in use, especially in teenagers. Easier access to marijuana products and the misconception that it is safe to use have also contributed to this. Nevertheless, there is evidence that marijuana leads to several complications, including hallucinations, delusions, schizophrenia, depression, suicidal behavior, increased risk of bronchitis, and other lung damage. Marijuana can also affect brain development in individuals younger than 25.
Signs of Teen Drug Abuse
Laughing for no reason
Loss of interest
Avoidance of eye contact
Teen Drug Abuse Complications
Brain development disorder
Future financial problems
Increased risk of STDs (including HIV and hepatitis B and C)
Birth defects in pregnant teens
Death from overdose