Even the Occasional Cigarette Affects a Teen's Health

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When it comes to teens and cigarettes, there's good news and bad news. The upside: The amount of teens smoking cigarettes has hit an all-time low. But the downside? Some teens who smoke cigarettes occasionally don't realize the damage it does to their bodies. According to a new study, teens mistakenly believe that occasional cigarettes are harmless. But Medical Daily reports that the opposite is true—and there's proof to back it up!

Stephen Amrock, student of pediatric medicine at New York University School of Medicine, led the study and says:

All smoking counts. Social smoking has a price, and even the occasional cigarette truly is bad for you. Light and intermittent smokers face tremendous future health risks.

That's probably because cigarettes contain over 7,000 chemicals. Yikes!

Amrock's study found that nearly a quarter of the 24,658 teens who participated believed a few occasional cigarettes caused no harm. Out of the teens who smoke a few cigarettes a day, 35 percent believed their levels of tobacco were not harmful. (They're incorrect, by the way!)

This proves it's important to remind teens the damage cigarettes do to their bodies, no matter how many they smoke. Luckily, Amrock points out that anti-tobacco campaigns can go a long way in being effective on teens, saying:

Our findings suggest that public health efforts have been working, but that those efforts have likely been incomplete. Decades of anti-tobacco work have succeeded in convincing adolescents that heavy smoking patterns are dangerous, but the complete message has not been broadly received.

Preventing tobacco use is among the most cost-effective things we can do as a health care system. Making sure that all teens understand just how dangerous all tobacco is, [is] an important first step in curbing tobacco use nationwide.

All valid points! The more teens are reminded of the dangers, the more the message sticks. (Same goes for talking to them about alcohol!)

For more about this topic, check out “Teens vs. Cigarettes” and “E-Cigarettes: Can They Kill You Too?” from Choices! Choices is a teen health, well-being, and life skills magazine published by Scholastic.