The Facts on Smoking Risk for Young Adults

Cigarette Smoke

When I was in high school, “The Trail” behind the soccer field was a thing of mystery – only the older, cooler kids hung out there. As a freshman, I discovered the secret way in: pick up a smoking habit. I smelled grossed and felt lightheaded after every drag, but I got to hang out with the juniors. Who, as it turned out, weren’t all that great, and neither was my new addiction. Ever wonder why today’s youth like to walk around in a cloud of Marlboro smoke? Read on.

The Study

Researchers at the University of Montreal School of Public Health studied 1,293 teenagers from in and around Montreal. All of the participants were from the Nicotine Dependence in Teens study that began in 1999. All of the teenagers were checked in 22 cycles up until they reached 24 years of age. The research was published in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

The Results

By their last cycle, 75% of the teenagers had at least tried smoking. Before entering high school, 44% of the teenagers had started smoking. 43% started smoking while in high school and 14% started smoking during the six years after leaving high school. Some of the participants who tried cigarettes did not go on to become smokers.The study showed that people between the ages of 18 and 24 share three basic smoking risk factors: being impulsive, drinking alcohol on a regular basis, and doing poorly in school.

According to Professor Jennifer O’Loughlin, one reason why impulsivity may lead to smoking is because impulsive teenagers may have parents who try to keep a tight leash. The protection that these parents offer diminishes as children grow up, making it easier for the teen or twenty-something to try smoking. Drinking may lead to smoking because alcohol can reduce self-control and inhibitions.

The American Lung Association on Kids and Smoking

According to, most smokers have their first cigarette at just eleven years old. 70% of adult smokers started smoking cigarettes before they were 18 years old; many were addicted as young as 14 years old. The American Lung Association blames the following for this trend: Children with parents who smoke.Peer pressure, not only to try smoking, but also to continue smoking. Smoking is viewed as rebellious and as a way to exercise independence. Advertising targets teens and makes smoking look cool.

Smoking Stats You Should Know

According to…Every day, approximately 3,900 adolescents under the age of 18 try their first cigarette. Over 950 of them will go on to be regular smokers. 30% of teen smokers will die from a smoking-related disease. Smokers die, on average, approximately 13 years earlier than non-smokers. Teenagers who smoke are more likely to have anxiety disorders, panic attacks and depression. 1 in every 5 teens who are addicted to smoking have between 13 and 15 cigarettes each day. Teens who smoke are eight times more likely to smoke weed and they’re 22 times more likely to use cocaine. Teenagers who smoke will have lungs that won’t develop fully, which causes them to be at a higher risk for lung disease.

The Rise of Vaping

In 2012, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that the percentage of teens who tried electronic cigarettes doubled from 2011 to 2012. The CDC felt that teens who started smoking e-cigarettes (vamping) would eventually switch to regular cigarettes and begin a life of addiction. However, data from the 2012 National Youth Tobacco Survey showed that nine out of ten high school students who said they smoked e-cigarettes had already been traditional cigarette smokers. Earlier this month, the CDC showed that smoking among teens actually fell as the trend of vamping rose.

Image by: Wikimedia Commons

Sara Marshall is a professional blogger that provides information on the latest electronic cigarette developments. He writes for Smokeless Image Eletronic Cigarettes, a top provider of smokeless e-cigarettes and e- cigarette accessories.