Whether to smoke or not is a debatable question that seems to never end. Since medical experts determined that lung cancers, along with other diseases, is caused by smoking; non smokers have campaigned against smoking, while smokers have clung to this habit.
Many teenage smokers think that smoking with help them become accepted by the peers, relief stress, and improve performance, hence the continued use of cigarettes and even marijuana. Statistics show that many kids try smoking for the first time at the age of 11 and most adult smokers began this habit before they turned 18 years.
From this perspective, many people tend to ask if it is legal and acceptable to start smoking before the age of 18. In this paper, we are going to prove that smoking has heavy health, economic, and social disadvantages to all people, and especially teenagers. This paper will analyze facts on why it is illegal and hazardous for kids to smoke before reaching 18 years.
Firstly, smoking under eighteen years is illegal. Besides impacting one’s health negatively, smoking is a waste of money, and it greatly affects one’s social life. Before reaching eighteen years, one is still a minor, and therefore it is illegal for them to smoke (Anderson 7).
It is important for kids to understand that smoking or being in possession of cigarettes or marijuana before the age of eighteen is illegal and can land them in serious trouble. At this age, many of the youngsters are still in school and school regulations do not allow such behaviour. If found smoking within the school area, such students can be suspended or even expelled from the particular institution.
According to the article Reasons Not to Smoke, Kids can be attracted to smoking because they think they will “look cool,” feel older or independent, look tough or even win stuff which they find cool. Thus peers, teachers, parents and any other person coming into contact with young people should advise and encourage them to quit the habit due to its harm and long lasting effects.
Considering the fact that at this age teenagers are energetic and very active, smoking reduces their ability to perform and get involved in activities that require endurance, like sports for example.
According to doctors, cigarettes contain tar which blocks the alveoli and anatomical airway that ensure good breathing. A smoking teen will be less active because he or she will get tired quickly for there is limited supply of oxygen as a result of the tar blocking airway.
Another reason why smoking under the age of eighteen is bad is that the nicotine contained in cigarettes causes addiction. Early smoking means that it will be hard for the person to quit the habit which results in many smoking related deceases and early death because of the harm caused to the body.
At the young age, smoking will definitely cause tensions between the smoker and family as well as friends. Parents are bound to be upset if they find their teen smoking. As a result, both parties will fight with each defending their stand on the habit (Smoking Facts).
Smoking is an expensive habit, especially to a teenager who may not have his/her own money or an income generating activity. For example, if one smokes one pack of cigarettes a day and the pack costs $7.00, then approximately $210.00 would have been spent on the same every month (Anderson 30). This money could be spent on other, more important, issues, such as like paying bills or doing recreational activities.
Smoking stains teeth and leaves an odour on whoever is smoking and the person near them. A habit which may have started as a cool thing diminishes one’s confidence and social advantage considering the fact that it leaves one with a foul breath.
Apart from tar, cigarettes contain “nitrogen oxides, hydrogen cyanide, ammonia,” and other radio active compounds that make harm to the body of the smoker in one or another way (Anderson 38). A smoker’s heart rate is increased due to constricted anatomical airway therefore increasing their blood pressure.
The carbon monoxide present in cigarettes, cigars, and pipes deprives tissues of oxygen which is very important for normal metabolism and brain functioning. For these reasons, the smokers get lung cancer, heart diseases, emphysema, headaches and respiratory diseases.
It is estimated that 400,000 of people die from illnesses related to smoking in the United States each year. It’s more discouraging when the young people who are supposed to build the future die in an early age. Parents who smoke are likely to pass on the habit to their small kids and teenagers. Young pregnant women deliver babies with low weight and most of these babies develop complications as they grow (Smoking Facts).
Looking at these points, it is quite clear that smoking should be restricted until kids reach the legal age when they are mature enough to make a decision on the kind of life they want to lead. Those who are already smoking should be encouraged to quit the habit by taking the necessary measures.
While young smokers associate this habit with coolness, peer acceptance, and stress relief they should know the dangers associated with the same. Smoking under the age of 18 is illegal, reduces the ability of teens to be involved in activities, leads to addiction, strained relationships, bad breath, stealing, and health complications.
Anderson, Judith. Smoking. North Mankato, MN: Smart Apple Media, 2006. Print.
Smoking Facts: The Facts About Smoking – How And Why To Quit. 2012. Web. <https://www.nutri.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=page.facts_about_smoking>
Reasons Not to Smoke. 2012. Web.. <http://www.angelfire.com/ny4/healthsite/reasons.html>.