According to the Surgeon General’s report, tobacco use by youth and young adults causes both immediate and long-term damage. One of the most serious health effects is nicotine addiction, which prolongs tobacco use and can lead to severe health consequences. The younger youth are when they start using tobacco, the more likely they’ll be addicted.
- Early cardiovascular damage is seen in most young smokers; those most sensitive die very young.
- Smoking reduces lung function and retards lung growth. Teens who smoke are not only short of breath today, they may end up as adults with lungs that will never grow to full capacity. Such damage is permanent and increases the risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
- Youth are sensitive to nicotine and can feel dependent earlier than adults. Because of nicotine addiction, about three out of four teen smokers end up smoking into adulthood, even if they intend to quit after a few years.
- Among youth who persist in smoking, one out of three will die prematurely from smoking.
Tobacco companies spend more than a million dollars an hour in this country alone to market their products. Many tobacco products on the market contain candy and fruit flavoring which appeal to youth. The more young people are exposed to cigarette advertising and promotional activities, the more likely they are to smoke.