Three thousand children a day start smoking in the US 47% of eighth grade students and 65% of high-school seniors have smoked tobacco. One third of high-school seniors smoke cigarettes on a daily basis and most report they started smoking by the age of 10.
Tobacco companies spend $ 500,000 every hour ($12 million daily) to advertise and promote cigarettes. During one 90-minute car race, the word Marlboro appeared on the TV screen 5,933 times. Joe Camel is as familiar to 6-year-old kids as Mickey Mouse.
Cigarette smoke contains more than 4,000 chemicals including 200 known poisons and several carcinogens. Cigarette smokers are more susceptible to lung, mouth, larynx, esophageal, bladder, pancreatic and kidney cancer. Smoking is responsible for the deaths of 400,000 Americans each year.
The Surgeon General views cigarettes as addictive as heroin or cocaine. Each year, only three percent of smokers manage to quit and stay off cigarettes. And, one in three who quit for a full year eventually returns to smoking again. Tobacco users develop a tolerance for nicotine, a highly addictive substance that creates the need for greater amounts to produce the desired effect.
Chewing tobacco has a higher concentration of nicotine, causing it to be more addictive than cigarettes.
12 to 17-year-old smokers are:
- Twice as likely to use alcohol
- Nine times as likely to use illegal stimulants or depressants
- Ten times as likely to smoke marijuana
- Fourteen times as likely to use cocaine, heroin or hallucinogens
Possible effects of tobacco include:
- Diminished or extinguished sense of smell and taste
- Frequent colds, wheezing, asthma attacks, ear infections
- Premature aging and wrinkling of the skin
- Bad breath, yellow or brown staining of the teeth
- Smoker’s cough, chronic bronchitis, pneumonia, emphysema, cancer
- Redness, itching and watery eyes, headaches, nausea
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