According to the World Health Organization, about one in five teens are affected by smoking. While heart disease and other issues are a big concern in the future for teens who smoke, there are many other serious, lesser known, impacts smoking has that can affect a teen’s future. Teens who smoke can suffer from Degenerative Disk Disease (DDD) and can experience pregnancy complications in the future. Further, the escalated risk for stroke and heart attack is also a major concern for teens in their future (American Heart Association). In addition to spinal, pregnancy, and heart ailments, teens also experience changes in behavior and attitude (American Lung Association). Furthermore, approximately 440,000 Americans will die a year from a smoking related disease (American Lung Association). Tobacco is a dangerous health concern that is slowly ruining American teens.
While heart and other diseases caused by smoking are a major concern for teens who smoke, pregnancy challenges and DDD are two lesser known, life altering side effects caused by smoking that impact a teen’s future health and career. Specifically, if a teen smokes, in the future the teen may miscarry the baby or cause the baby to have a defect, such as a cleft palate (Reproductive Health). Smoking affects the teen’s future ability to become pregnant, as well as to have safe and healthy pregnancies. Smoking can cause advanced DDD from the chemical composition of active ingredients in cigars and cigarettes (Smoking Causes DDD). Further, smoking speeds up the progression of DDD, which diminishes height, diameter, and mass of disks (Smoking Causes DDD). Both pregnancy health challenges and DDD can have a significant impact on the teen’s future family planning, as well as physical mobility issues caused by DDD.
After observing a four hour open-heart surgery at NOVA’s Dome Observation Center, I learned how important the heart is and how to keep it healthy. Prior to the open-heart surgery observation, the nurse talked to us about the dangers of smoking and how it affects the heart. I learned that cigars can have ingredients that can be found in CD’s, rocket fuel, and batteries (Inova Heart & Vascular). She then talked to us about Coronary Artery Disease (CAD), and how smoking will increase your chances of developing CAD and dying from CAD as you age (Inova Heart & Vascular). Teens who continue to smoke are at a higher risk in adulthood of having a heart attack or stroke, than someone who does not smoke.
While dangers of smoking are commonly related to lung and heart illnesses, there are also behavioral issues and negative attitudes that result from teen smoking. Changes in behavior and attitude in adolescents can develop from smoking (American Lung Association). Teens that smoke engage in high risk behavior that can be both sexual and violent (American Lung Association). They are more likely to become involved in drugs and alcohol. Adolescents who smoke may get into more fights than usual. Lastly, teens who smoke may also begin to illegally bear fire arms. These changes in behavior and attitude can have serious effects on the growth and development of teens (American Lung Association). Sadly, a major reason a teen will begin to smoke is because they want to copy the behavior of someone they admire (Gladwell).
Smoking is a substantial concern for teens due to the dangerous health impairments that affect their health permanently. Teens who smoke are faced with DDD which can impact their career due to limited physical mobility, pregnancy complications in the future, heart diseases and increased risk of heart attack and stroke, as well as changes in behavior and attitude. Due to smoking, 440,000 of Americans die a year (American Lung Association). Unfortunately, teens who smoke will try to quit in later years, but many will not succeed (Gladwell). Smoking is a great health risk, especially for teens when they are still developing physically and mentally.