Tobacco may be use either by smoking it or in smokeless forms such as chewing tobacco or snuff. Some will turn to the smokeless products to avoid lung cancer. Unfortunately half of smokeless tobacco users will develop pre-cancerous patches called leukoplakia within three years of beginning use.
Spit tobacco, smokeless tobacco, chew, dip, snuff, cigarettes.
Why Do People Do It?
Many kids smoke or use tobacco products to feel "cool" and grown up or to fit in with peers. Some do it out of a feeling of rebellion. Others do it because it relieves feelings of depression and anxiety. Depressed teens may also do it out of the hopeless or self-destructive feelings associated with their depression. In other words, they know better, but feel it doesn't matter.
Who Uses Tobacco?
A report issued by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in July, 2000 gives the encouraging news that teen smoking is down. It dropped from 36.4% in 1997 to 28.4% in 1999. Unfortunately the mistaken idea that smokeless tobacco, as well as smokable forms like kreteks and bidis, are safer have led to rises in usage of these alternative tobacco products.
Parents should look for the tell-tale smell of cigarette smoke and tobacco products in their child's belongings. Other potential signs of tobacco use are an increased use of breath freshener or gum to mask cigarette odor or stained teeth.
Treatment depends upon first of all the underlying causes for smoking. Depression and anxiety can be combatted through medications and therapy. Nicotine addiction, however, is a tougher demon to battle. Rather than go into detail here, I will refer you to About's fine Smoking Cessation site here at About. Be sure to take a look at the Photo Gallery. A picture is truly worth a thousand words in convincing kids that smoking is definitely not cool.