A man named Bryan, who lived in St. Petersburg, Florida, started smoking when he was 13 years old. Throughout his high school years, he smoked about twenty cigarettes a day with no problem. At age 33, he was diagnosed with lung cancer and died six weeks later. He left behind a wife and a three year old son (Landry). Each day, nearly six thousand children under the age of eighteen start smoking; of these six thousand, two thousand will become regular smokers (Egendorf 61). Adolescent smoking has become an increasing problem in the United States over the past twenty years. Many teens do not know how smoking affects their lives and the people around them. Because of the harmful effects smoking has on one’s body, mind, and peers, adolescents should be better educated on the health risks of smoking cigarettes in middle school.
There are approximately six hundred ingredients in cigarettes. When burned, they create four thousand chemicals. At least fifty of these chemicals are known to cause cancer, and are poisonous (American Lung Association). Some ingredients found in cigarettes and/or in cigarette smoke are also found in house hold cleaners and other ordinary, everyday things. Examples of some of these are: acetone, which is found in nail polish remover; ammonia, a common household cleaner; arsenic, which is used in rat poison; carbon monoxide, which is released in car exhaust fumes; methanol, a main component in rocket fluid; nicotine, which is used as insecticide; and tar, which is used to pave roads (American Lung Association). Each day in the United States, approximately three thousand and eight hundred young people under the age of eighteen smoke their first cigarette (CDC). Also, a chemical compound named Urea is used to add flavor to cigarettes, this chemical compound is also a main component in urine (Listverse). Teens that choose to smoke cigarettes are basically eating rat poison and drinking urine and nail polish remover, which is very unhealthy and disgusting.
A study was conducted to see how smoking affects the brain. Participants did not smoke for twelve hours before the test. Then they smoked two cigarettes that did not have nicotine in them. After, they smoked two nicotine-filled cigarettes. After the nicotine cigarettes, they immediately felt better (LiveScience). Smoking cigarettes releases pleasure-inducing chemicals such as dopamine, which is a hormone in the brain that produces feelings of happiness and well-being and norepinephrine, which enhances energy and alertness. Other endorphins released while smoking causes the smoker to feel relaxed and/or calm (Williams 9). The reason for these good feelings of relaxation and alertness is the nicotine in cigarettes. When one is addicted to nicotine, his or her body feels good when that addiction is fed. This happens because when a smoker consumes nicotine for a long enough time, their brain lowers their natural energy level. So, instead of providing a temporary high, smokers smoke to feel just as a normal, nonsmoker would (Health Canada). That is why most people who smoke have more than twenty cigarettes a day with no problem; they feel normal when they are puffing on cigarettes so in turn they smoke more. The amount of stress in a smoker’s life also affects how much they smoke, because when a smoker takes in nicotine they feel relaxed and if a smoker is under a lot of stress then that person will smoke more. Teens have school so it is a given that they will be stressed or overwhelmed with homework, classwork, projects, etc. Smoking cigarettes is a way for teens to cope with the stress of school.
Smoking cigarettes has many negative effects on one’s physical appearance and immune system. A smoker usually has undesirable traits such as yellow teeth, yellow fingers, smelly hair, and smelly clothes (Williams 78). Smoking has specific effects on one’s body defenses and immune system. Smoking cigarettes causes your...