Smoking tobacco is an increasing habit of the young. The centers for Disease
Control and Prevention reported that teen smoking is on the rise, with a recent
survey indicating that more than 22% of high school seniors admit to at least
occasional smoking. The tragic truth is that a significant number of these young
people will die as a direct consequence of smoking. Given these facts, smoking
prevention factors, especially those directed at the young, are critical.
Tobacco use among children and teens has reached epidemic proportions. Every day,
more than 3,000 kids in America become regular smokers; one-third of them will
die prematurely from lung cancer, emphysema, heart disease and other tobacco-caused diseases.
And that does not include the kids who become addicted to spit (smokeless)
tobacco. Currently, an estimated 4.5 million kids between the ages of 12 and 17 are
smokers, collectively smoking more than 500 million packs of cigarettes a year. In
the past decade, the number of kids under 18 who became daily smokers each year has
increased by more than 70 percent. The long-term consequences are clear: well over
400,000 Americans die annually from smoking, and thousands more from smokeless
tobacco and secondhand smoke. Almost 90 percent of adult smokers began at or before age 18.