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Health Effects of Smoking Among Young People

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Among young people, the short-term health consequences of smoking includerespiratory and non-respiratory effects, addiction to nicotine, and theassociated risk of other drug use. Long-term health consequences of youthsmoking are reinforced by the fact that most young people who smoke regularlycontinue to smoke throughout adulthood.1

Image: Bullet Cigarette smokers have alower level of lung function than those persons who have never smoked.1

Image: Bullet Smoking reduces the rateof lung growth.1

Image: Bullet In adults, cigarettesmoking causes heart disease and stroke. Studies have shown that early signs ofthese diseases can be found in adolescents who smoke.1

Image: Bullet Smoking hurts youngpeople's physical fitness in terms of both performance and endurance---evenamong young people trained in competitive running.1

Image: Bullet On average, someone whosmokes a pack or more of cigarettes each day lives 7 years less than someone whonever smoked.2

Image: Bullet The resting heart ratesof young adult smokers are two to three beats per minute faster than nonsmokers.1

Image: Bullet Smoking at an early ageincreases the risk of lung cancer. For most smoking-related cancers, the riskrises as the individual continues to smoke.1

Image: Bullet Teenage smokers sufferfrom shortness of breath almost three times as often as teens who don't smoke,and produce phlegm more than twice as often as teens who don't smoke.3

Image: Bullet Teenage smokers are morelikely to have seen a doctor or other health professionals for an emotional orpsychological complaint.3

Image: Bullet Teens who smoke are threetimes more likely than nonsmokers to use alcohol, eight times more likely to usemarijuana, and 22 times more likely to use cocaine. Smoking is associated with ahost of other risky behaviors, such as fighting and engaging in unprotected sex.1

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  1. CDC, Preventing Tobacco Use Among Young People---A Report of the Surgeon General, 1994.
  2. Lew EA, Garfinkel L. Differences in Mortality and Longevity by Sex, Smoking Habits and Health Status, Society of Actuaries Transactions, 1987.
  3. AJHP, Arday DR, Giovino GA, Schulman J, Nelson DE, Mowery P, Samet JM, et al. Cigarette smoking and self-reported health problems among U.S. high school seniors, 1982-1989, p. 111-116.

Office on Smoking and Health
National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
August 1996


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