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This post is sponsored by CVS Health.
The evolution in education of the dangers of tobacco use has made smoking and other forms of tobacco use a less-desired trend. However, strangely enough, between 2013 and 2014, the use of electronic cigarettes among students in middle school tripled. They are the most commonly used nicotine products among middle school students.
But the question is: Why?
It is a widely and well-known fact that thousands of people die from tobacco-related causes each year. In addition, tobacco use remains the leading preventable cause of disease and death in the United States. Yet there are so many young people who believe it is the thing to do because they see their peers doing it. Some youth even believe that smoking cigarettes or using other tobacco-related products such as e-cigarettes represents “adult” status. Some do it to emulate their parents, or the celebrities they idolize.
While the reasons to start using tobacco products could be many, the reason to stop—or refrain from starting at all—are the same: smoking and tobacco use seriously jeopardizes health.
Studies show that every day, 3,800 kids under the age of 18 smoke their first cigarette, with 2,100 youths and young adults becoming regular daily smokers.
And if you’re thinking that e-cigarettes are safer than actual cigarettes or other products that contain tobacco, think again. The word is still not final on whether or not e-cigarettes prevent or change unhealthy tobacco habits. In fact, many e-cigarettes contain the addictive drug nicotine. Plus, some early studies suggest that teens who use e-cigarettes are also more likely to use tobacco cigarettes.
Products like e-cigarettes are sometimes featured in advertisements that are designed to appeal to young people. Some even have candy-like flavors, which may increase the allure and curiosity to try them. Although it is illegal to sell e-cigarettes and tobacco products to minors, the illegal purchase of tobacco by young people happens much more often than you think.
DID YOU KNOW: If more is not done to reduce youth smoking rates in the U.S., an estimated 5.6 million children alive today will die early from smoking.
It is never too soon to encourage our youth to strive to live a tobacco-free lifestyle. Their bodies are still developing, so their organs may be more affected by the chemicals found in such products. Studies have shown that education programs can help reduce the number of kids who use tobacco products, which is why we must work to eliminate tobacco use among our young people. In this way, we can decrease the risk of tobacco-related diseases down the line. We can help young people create healthy ways to respond when faced with situations involving tobacco in order to safeguard their health for a lifetime.
There are Get Smart About Tobacco education programs (for grades 3-7) available for free use. Visit the website to get access at: www.scholastic.com/get_smart_about_tobacco.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of CVS Health. The opinions and text are all mine.