Youth Smoking and Tobacco Use
Any tobacco use in children and youth is unsafe.
Although youth tobacco use has decreased in recent years, it is still a significant health concern. According to the Surgeon General, over 600,000 middle school students and 3 million high school students smoke cigarettes.
One in every five deaths in the United States is smoking-related according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In fact, the CDC points out about 10 million people in the United States have died from causes attributed to smoking (including heart disease, emphysema, and other respiratory diseases) since the first Surgeon General's report on smoking and health in 1964. Two million of those deaths were the result of lung cancer.
Spit tobacco (also called snuff or chewing tobacco) is not a safe alternative either. According to CDC, one "dip" of smokeless tobacco can deliver as much nicotine as several cigarettes. CDC also says that using spit tobacco can cause cracked lips, bleeding gums and sores of the mouth that never heal.
Another alternative - electronic cigarettes - produce vapor instead of smoke, but your body is still absorbing toxins.
There is some good news, though. The American Heart Association says that when you quit, your risk of disease diminishes rather quickly. Eventually your risk will be about the same as that of someone who never smoked.
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