Substance Abuse (Tobacco, page 2)

Smoking not only harms the people who use tobacco, but also causes the people around them to be passive smokers.  Passive smoking increases the risk of succumbing to the same diseases as "active" smokers.  Children are more susceptible to ill effects from passive smoking.  Middle ear infections, coughing and wheezing are the more common effects found in children exposed to cigarette smoke5.

Since 1975, cigarettes have been the substance most often abused by high school students in the US. While the incidence of smoking is higher among men than women in general, the rates of tobacco use among teenage girls is increasing.  The following table reveals the extent of tobacco use among teens in the US as of 2002:

Cigarette Use by Students, 2002

 8th Grade 10th Grade 12th Grade
Ever Smoked  31.4% 47.4% 57.2%
Smoked in Past Month 10.7% 17.7% 26.7%
1/2 Pack + per Day 2.1% 4.4% 9.1%

(Source: Monitoring the Future Study, The University of Michigan, http://www.monitoringthefuture.org/data/data.html)

Click here for our lesson on the respiratory system and learn what smoking does to your lungs.

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