Friday, February 13, 2009

Teen Smoking: A World-Wide Problem


Smoking is a world-wide phenomenon. Thanks to the billion-dollar advertisements in the print media, radio and television. Smoking became an enduring phenomenon because of the "cool look" deliberately portrayed in cigarette advertisements and depiction of heroes and heroines smoking in the movies as well as addictive qualities of tobacco products.

The Canadian Lung Association mentions that between 82,000 and 99,000 young people around the world start smoking each day. Why do they start smoking? In reply, they say: "My friends smoke." "I just wanted to try it." "I thought it was cool." "My parents smoke."

Tobacco Companies Target Teens and Children

It has been proven that tobacco companies play a vital role in attracting teens to smoking. They know from their experience that if people can be hooked to smoking in young age, most of them will remain smokers until their death. This way their business and income will remain steady even if many people die of smoking-related diseases and old age.

Nicotine is a Drug and a Poison

Nicotine is one of the main ingredients in tobacco. It is a powerful addictive drug that has a powerful effect on the brain and central nervous system. Nicotine is a deadly poison, too. If a certain amount is injected in the blood-stream, a person is sure to die. As tobacco smoke contains very little amount of nicotine, it is not that deadly, but it has an adverse effect on the smoker's health.

Chemicals in the Tobacco Smoke

According to the Canadian Lung Association, the tobacco smoke contains over 4,000 chemicals, many of which cause cancer. A few of these chemicals are:

  • Carbon Monoxide (found in car exhaust)
  • Arsenic (rat poison)
  • Ammonia (found in window cleaner)
  • Acetone (found in nail polish remover)
  • Hydrogen Cyanide (gas chamber poison)
  • Napthalene (found in mothballs)
  • Sulphur Compounds (found in matches)
  • Lead
  • Volatile Alcohol
  • Formaldehyde (used as an embalming fluid)
  • Butane (lighter fluid)
During smoking, all these chemicals form a sticky tar by mixing together. This tar sticks to clothing, skin, and to the cilia (small hairs lining the sides of a person's lung). The cilia are supposed to clean out dirt and germs from lungs. Due to constant smoking, if the cilia get covered by this tar, they cannot function properly and, as a result, dirt, germs and chemicals stay in the lungs and cause diseases.

Danger of the Second-Hand Smoke

Even if a person doesn't smoke, but remains near a smoker, he or she also can get sick or die from breathing tobacco smoke.

Light Cigarettes are as Deadly as Regular Ones

Several decades ago, tobacco companies started to produce filtered cigarettes and came up with the attractive idea of "safe smoking" or "light cigarettes" giving the impression that these cigarettes have less amount of nicotine, tar and other harmful chemicals. Studies showed that anyone smoking light cigarettes takes in as much nicotine, tar and carbon monoxide as the smoker of the regular cigarettes. There is no such thing as safe smoking.

'Natural' or 'Organic' Tobacco

Someone producing his or her own tobacco in the backyard garden and smoking it does not become immune from tobacco-related diseases and problems. He or she still breathes in nicotine, tar and chemicals.

The Canadian Lung Association report and other reports clearly show the dangers of smoking and the cigarette marketing practices leading to teen smoking habits. Bookmark and Share