Using tobacco in any form is not safe. Most people who use tobacco regularly start before they turn 18. Youth report using different kinds of tobacco products, including cigarettes, e-cigarettes (vapes), cigarillos, hookah, smokeless (chewing or dipping) tobacco or snuff, and a variety of new and emerging products.
Kids need to know the dangers of using any type of tobacco now and in the future. Nicotine exposure during youth can harm the developing adolescent brain and can lead to a lifetime of nicotine addiction and tobacco use. Nicotine exposure can also prime the adolescent brain for addiction to other drugs.
Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the United States. Preventing the use of tobacco products in youth is a very important step to help keep kids healthy and to help stop the tobacco epidemic. And if they’ve already started using cigarettes, e-cigarettes, or other forms of tobacco, helping them quit is critical to protecting their health now and later in life.
Research has shown that teens whose parents often talk with them about the dangers of tobacco use are about half as likely to smoke as those who don’t have these discussions with their parents. This holds true whether or not the parents use tobacco themselves.