In spite of the evidence linking cigarettes to serious health risks, including cancer, emphysema, heart disease and death, kids continue smoke. See what you know about this dangerous habit and the youth of today by determining if the following statements are fact or fiction.
About one-third of the 400,000 kids who become daily smokers each year will die prematurely from a smoking-caused disease.
U.S. cigarette companies rely on youth smokers to replace their adult customers who quit or die. Much of their marketing efforts focus on youth, including sporting event sponsorships.
Smokers do lose their breath more than nonsmokers, but it's three times as often, not twice.
Tobacco companies spend $34 million per day, or about $12.5 billiion each year, to promote their deadly products through a combination of advertising, sponsorships and events.
Smoking causes many immediate effects on health, including persistent cough, respiratory problems, a greater susceptibility to illness and decreased physical performance.
The problem is worse than that. One-fifth of kids leaving high-school, leave as smokers.
A survey released in March of 2008 showed that kids were almost twice as likely as adults to recall tobacco advertising. One-third of underage experimentation with smoking is attributable to tobacco company advertising and promotion.
While many teens believe that "everybody else" smokes, less than 25 percent of adults and 17 percent of teens actually do.
In fact, tobacco kills more people than illegal drugs, alcohol, AIDS and car crashes combined.
It's sad, but true. Seven percent of 8th graders have taken up the habit, and by the time the kids reach 10th grade, the number has risen to 13.6 percent.
Kids are more likely to be influenced to smoke by cigarette marketing than their peers.
While 18 percent of Hispanic high school students smoke and 9.5 percent of African-American high school students smoke, whites have the highest rate, coming in at 22.5 percent.
Cigarettes contain nicotine, one of the most addictive drugs known. Smokeless tobacco is also dangerous because it causes oral cancer and is very addictive.
While some kids think they can quit anytime they want, more than 60 percent are still regular daily smokers 7 to 9 years later.
It takes less than a month for kids to get hooked. A 2007 study in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine found that some youths experience tobacco dependence within a day of first inhaling.
In addition to the 280 deaths, another 300 kids suffer from injuries resulting from smoking-caused fires.
Smoking is actually a major cause of stress. It only appears to reduce stress because it lessens the irritability and tension caused by the nicotine addiction.
While it's true that small children won't fully understand the chemistry, health risks and death caused by smoking, kids as young as 5 can understand that smoking is bad for their body.
Secondhand smoke also has adverse affects on kids, including respiratory disorders, ear and eye problems, and behavioral issues. Ingesting cigarettes can also be potentially toxic to children.
It's true that kids might want to try smoking out of curiosity to prove things for themselves. That's why discussing the dangers of smoking should be only a part of your no-smoking communications, which might include talks about peer pressure, self-esteem and healthy living.