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The effects of smoking on teenagers

Updated March 23, 2017

Many adults who smoke become addicted to cigarettes as teenagers. The two major reasons teenagers begin smoking are parental example and peer pressure. However, the effects of smoking on teenagers include both short-term and long-term impact on the body's various systems.

Bad Breath and Dental Problems

The Children's Hospital of Boston states that an immediate effect of smoking on teenagers is bad breath and other dental problems, such as stained teeth and increased risks for cavities.

Body Odors

One of the effects of smoking on teenagers is the lingering smell of stale cigarettes in the hair, on clothing, and even from the pores of the skin. Many smokers may not realise how strong their odour is because, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, smokers have s decreased sense of smell.

Skin Conditions

Skin problems are another effect of smoking on teenagers because smoking restricts blood vessels. Thus, oxygen is unable to adequately flow in the skin, leading to pale or yellow skin. A research study in Italy states that smokers increase their risks of suffering from psoriasis.

Premature Aging

The National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health, a subsidiary of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, says that the effects of smoking on teenagers include premature signs of ageing like wrinkles, especially around the lips.

Smaller Lungs

The American Academy of Pediatrics says that teenagers who smoke have smaller lungs and hearts than non-smoking teens, which can lead to shortness of breath and persistent coughing.

Respiratory Ailments

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says that teenage smokers catch more respiratory ailments, such colds, the flu, bronchitis, and pneumonia, than non-smokers and take longer to recover when they get sick. Smokers with asthma also have lower lung capacity than their non-smoking counterparts.

Athletic Performance

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services states that one of the effects of smoking on teenagers is a reduction in physical fitness and an increased chance of injury. This occurs because of decreased circulation and the inability of the body to produce enough collagen to repair muscles.

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About the Author

Based in Tucson, Ariz., Cicely A. Richard has been writing since 1996. Her articles have been published in the “Arizona Daily Star” newspaper and “ForeWord Magazine.” Richard earned Bachelor of Arts degrees in English and journalism from Louisiana State University. .