3.6 Million Kids Smoking their Health Away

More than 3.6 million kids smoke, according to a new report released by Surgeon General Dr. Regina Benjamin.

  • Tobacco is the leading cause of preventable and premature death, killing more than 1,200 Americans every day.
  • For every tobacco-related death two new young people under the age of 26 become regular smokers.
  • About three out of four high school smokers continue to smoke into adulthood.

The surgeon general’s report provides more scientific evidence about the addictive properties of nicotine. The younger people are when they begin smoking tobacco, the higher the likelihood they will become addicted — and the more heavily addicted they will become.

“The addictive power of nicotine makes tobacco use much more than a passing phase for most teens. We now know smoking causes immediate physical damage, some of which is permanent,” said Dr. Benjamin. “Today, more than 600,000 middle school students and 3 million high school students smoke. We don’t want our children to start something now that they won’t be able to change later in life.”

While the long-term health effects of tobacco use are well known, this latest report concludes that smoking early in life has substantial health risks that begin immediately in young smokers. These include serious early cardiovascular damage and a reduction in lung functionality. This causes shortness of breath and increases the risk of pulmonary diseases later in life — and this lung damage is permanent.

The report also notes that expenditures for marketing and promotion of tobacco products exceed $1 million an hour — over $27 million a day in the US alone, and much of that is aimed at young people.

“We can and must continue to do more to accelerate the decline in youth tobacco use,” said Dr. Howard Koh, assistant secretary for health at HHS. “Until we end the tobacco epidemic, more young people will become addicted, more people will die, and more families will be devastated by the suffering and loss of loved ones.”

We’ve known about the dangers of tobacco for an awful long time. It’s hard to fathom that in 2012, 3.6 million kids are smoking their health away.

Photo: iStockphoto/Thinkstock

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services


Micheal C.
Micheal C.3 years ago

I want more and more articles and blogs please post soon such informative information. copper freakshow

Past Member 5 years ago

Meg, please, educate yourself and stop spreading the same DEA reefer madness of the past. Cannabis is NOT addictive.

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Meg W.
Meg W5 years ago

Mari G.
I noticed from your profile that you're a parent. Cannabis is an addictive drug and anything that's smoked ends up damaging the lungs. I really hope you'll take a more responsible stance when your child wants to experiment with pot. I teach, or try to teach, children who have huge concentration and motivational problems because of this drug. It's easy for them to have the drug as their parents are pot heads and they also spout this baloney about how cannabis isn't dangerous at all. Think about it!

Duane B.
.5 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Hillary M.
Hillary M5 years ago

In 2005, cigarette companies spent $13.11 billion on advertising and promotion, even though cigarette ads are restricted in many countries. In 2010, the tobacco industry spent $16.6 million on lobbyists to represent the industry to Congress - set on destroying any possible competition such as e-cigarettes. It's no wonder so many young people choose to smoke. I would also venture to guess that kids who grew up in a "smoking" household are likely candidates to become smokers themselves.

Angela N.
Angela N5 years ago


Kathy Perez
Kathy Johnson5 years ago

uck. when i see a cute guy with a cigarette he immediately becomes less attractive. ash trays dont taste good. i dont understand. if someone said "this is going to taste like shit, cause breathing difficulties like asthma and emphysema, greatly increase your risk of cancer, make you look older quicker, damage your skin and make your clothes, car and house smell awful. Try one" id say hell no. why would ANYONE be interested? smoking looks trashy!

Eternal Gardener
Eternal G5 years ago


Mari Garcia
Mari Garcia5 years ago

i recently quit smoking by weaning myself off of cigs, i miss the ability to smoke and wish pot was legal so that im not distroying my body and able to get so much more for my money. i find it crazy that we live in a country that has 2 major deadly substances, tobacco and alcohol, legal while leaving pot illegal. and for those of you who are brain washed to believe pot is addictive, dangerous and so on, please go to these sites which is based around scientific studies and findings, not propaganda and lies.