Are Teens More Vulnerable to Nicotine Addiction?
A recent study found that more than 3,000 teens under 18 have try their first cigarette every day in the United States. And even more alarming: the harmful impact nicotine addiction can have on teenagers. Nicotine is an incredibly addictive drug found in tobacco products such as cigarettes, chewing tobacco, and e-cigarettes. And while nicotine addiction is a problem for adults, teens are even more vulnerable as nicotine harms the brain development of teenagers. If your teen is showing signs of nicotine addiction, it is time to seek substance abuse treatment.
At Destinations for Teens, we understand teen vulnerability and the draw to smoke nicotine products. Reach out to an addiction specialist to learn more about teen nicotine addiction by calling 877.466.0620.
Causes of Teen Smoking
Experimenting is part of growing up. Teenagers–especially in unsupervised groups–want to try something new such as cigarettes. Teen smoking often begins as a result of peer pressure, emulating adult behavior, or both. In addition, cigarettes and e-cigarettes are low-cost, making them easy for young adults to purchase. When teen cigarette users smoke, they experience a sudden spark of pleasure and, at times, even relaxation.
How Does Nicotine Addiction Affect Teens?
Teen nicotine addiction has a negative impact on young adults. The bursts of energy and happiness immediately associated with nicotine are not as long-lasting as the addiction plaguing many users. And for teen nicotine addicts, the consequences are even direr.
In addition, according to the American Lung Association, after eight years of smoking, an estimated 75 percent of smokers still desire tobacco, making it easy for teens to become lifelong smokers.
The adult brain is not developed until the age of 25. Yet nicotine addiction can stunt the development of a teen’s brain, lessening their ability to control impulses.
Finally, nicotine can increase a teen’s development of addiction in adulthood to drugs other than tobacco–leading to alcoholism and drug abuse.
Warning Signs of Teen Nicotine Addiction
Since teen smoking often leads to nicotine addiction, parents and guardians need to acknowledge if their teen has developed a smoking habit. Some warning signs of teen nicotine addiction include:
- Becoming anxious or irritable if they have not been able to smoke
- Excessively desiring tobacco products
- Always having tobacco products available
- Purchasing cigarettes or other tobacco products even if it is inconvenient
- Consistently smoking even though the smoker is knowledgeable of the impact it can have on health
- Being unable to stop smoking
Talk to Your Teens About Nicotine Addiction
If you believe your teen is smoking, discussing their behavior in a non-judgemental way will help them understand how nicotine addiction is harmful to their health. Here are some tips for keeping the lines of communication open with your teens:
- Model healthy behavior. If you do not want your children to become smokers, you have to set a strong example for them to follow. If you smoke, quit so that you can share your store of kicking a bad habit with your teen.
- Begin the conversation early–during childhood–about not abusing substances such as cigarettes and alcohol.
- Provide teens with an exit strategy when they are offered nicotine products.
- If your teen does smoke, do not punish them. Instead, focus on helping them quit their habit.
- Enhance their awareness of how the media has played a role in nicotine addiction through advertisements.
- Spend time with your teen and get to know their friends.
Don’t Ignore Your Teen’s Nicotine Addiction
Teen smoking might seem harmless, but it has been consistently linked to substance abuse of alcohol and drugs in adulthood. Destinations for Teens offers comprehensive substance abuse treatment services. If you are ready to help your teen, call [Direct.]