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Tobacco Use in Teens

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Tobacco Use in Teens


Why do teens use tobacco?

Many children and teens use tobacco because their friends do. Teens may use tobacco to try to manage their weight. They may use tobacco to rebel against adults or to try to look more mature, independent, and self-confident to their peers. And teens are more likely to use tobacco if their parents do.

How does tobacco use affect your health?

Smoking increases your risk of:

  • Early death.
  • Heart attack and stroke.
  • Lung cancer and other lung diseases.
  • Other cancers.
  • Sexual and reproductive problems.
  • Pregnancy problems.

Using cigars, pipes, or smokeless tobacco can also raise your risk of cancer.

If you smoke, the secondhand smoke you breathe out can affect the health of people you often smoke around. Secondhand smoke contains the same cancer-causing and lung-damaging chemicals that affect those who smoke. Breathing this smoke can cause health problems like cancer, asthma, and respiratory infections. It can make these problems worse too.

Why quit using tobacco if you're a teen?

As a teen, you may have a lot of reasons to quit using tobacco. They might include living a healthier life, looking and smelling better, and avoiding addiction. Quitting tobacco puts you back in control of your life. And it can save you money.

How can you prepare to quit?

  • Manage nicotine cravings.

    You can take medicine to help with the cravings. Or you can distract yourself by doing things like chewing gum, dancing, or listening to music.

  • See a counselor, or join a program.

    These things may help you quit.

  • Stay active, and eat healthy foods.

    If you're worried about gaining weight after quitting, eating healthy foods and exercising may help you stay at a weight that's healthy for you.

  • Get support.

    Call the national quitline: 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669). Or try a program like SmokeFreeTXT at to get text messages with advice and support.

  • Find supportive friends.

    It may help to spend time with friends who don't use tobacco products. You could also find a friend to quit with you.

  • Learn how to say no.

    When someone offers tobacco products, look them in the eye and say, "No, thanks." Say it as many times as you need to.


Current as of: November 15, 2023

Author: Healthwise Staff
Clinical Review Board
All Healthwise education is reviewed by a team that includes physicians, nurses, advanced practitioners, registered dieticians, and other healthcare professionals.

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