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Death by Cigarette This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


It is responsible for more than 440,000 deaths in the U.S. each year. It can affect those who have never chosen to interact with it. Seemingly friendly and harmless at first, it gains the trust of its young victims. After years of scheming within, dormant but dangerous, it has the power to kill. Despite the large sum spent on ads and commercials against it, this silent assassin continues its deadly streak, luring an estimated 4,800 teens into its trap every minute. Behold, the deadly cigarette.

Addiction often starts with the urge to escape from a problem. Perhaps the individual wants to prove something to peers, get a boost in self-confidence, suppress feelings or appetite, or gain attention. The problem is that it's hard to stop once the body gets used to nicotine. That's when the target finds that he has become addicted.

Cigarette smoking holds the title as the most preventable cause of premature death in America. While most have seen numerous warnings of the risks of cigarette smoking, they are still coaxed into taking in the toxins, fully aware of the consequences. The first cigarette begins a domino effect, leading to an assortment of diseases and numerous ways to hurt oneself and loved ones, all of which can be avoided by never taking that first puff.

As a widespread epidemic that kills an estimated 22,700 to 69,600 through exposure to secondhand smoke in the U.S. each year, cigarette smoking can slowly weaken and attack the body, specifically the respiratory and circulatory systems, leading to lung cancer as well as heart disease, the dominant cause of death in the United States. A major contributor to health problems, smoking can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke to quadruple that of nonsmokers, in addition to causing 90 percent of all lung cancer deaths in men and 80 percent in women. Tobacco use causes more deaths than HIV, illegal drug and alcohol use, vehicle injuries, suicides, and murders combined.

For teens, smoking can be especially harmful to physique and ­appearance. Over time, the effects will emerge: yellowing teeth, clothing that reeks of cigarettes, bad breath, as well as decreased energy. The habit also puts a major dent in the ­wallet, especially with the tight budget most teens have. A pack of ­cigarettes costs as much as $7.50, money that could be better spent on clothes, food, or electronics.

While some young people may still be convinced that smoking will boost their social standing, keep in mind that putting your body at risk is a foolish sacrifice. If cigarette smoking comes as a result of taunting or peer pressure, rethink it. Those people aren't really your friends if they bully or take advantage of you. They aren't responsible for what happens to your body, you are.

For those who regret falling into ­tobacco's grasp, the chances of recovering exist, even though they are slim. Fewer than one in 10 people who try to quit actually succeed. The only real way to be tobacco-free is to never start. Cigarette smoking still lures 20 percent of teens, and almost 90 percent of those young people will smoke as adults. Research shows that if you don't start smoking by the age of 18, you most likely never will. Younger children often look up to teens as role models, so reducing the number of teen smokers is the best path to a healthy, tobacco-free future for all.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.





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This article has 4 comments. Post your own!

nanski said...
Oct. 15, 2010 at 3:37 am:
two thumbs up for this article
 
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NotYoursFroever said...
Oct. 12, 2010 at 4:59 pm:
I respect the article, but I disagree. It is a bad thing when you do it to much, but so is everything, gluttony is a bad thing period. My grandmother is 92 and smokes everyday, she is perfectly healthy too! and my father is 53 and going strong! Now if you smoke like 5 packs a day I can see where it isn't beneficial to you, But a few cigs a day wont kill you in a few years.
 
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missTaco said...
Oct. 11, 2010 at 7:20 pm:
my dad used to smoke. i'm glad he quit, that will definately add years to his life. no more secondhand smoke either, so thats good for the rest of the family
 
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uokyguk said...
Oct. 1, 2010 at 2:42 am:
I had faecal breath odour for YEARS, never had a girlfriend till now. Talked to many doctors who took my money then show me the door....I finally had a friend who used to suffers bad breath, tell me about an eBook he bought 5 or 6 months ago he ask me how his breath smelt and I didn’t smell a thing. He said the eBook amongst much else had him stop eating dairy food/ soft drinks and coffee/tea and is about 30 pages long so it covers every possible cause. So I’m like reading it and doi... (more »)
 
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