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Tobacco-Free Children and Teens

Substance Abuse

<p>Despite the fact that it is no longer a societal norm, there are still many people out there who regularly smoke tobacco.&nbsp; From one cigarette a day to more than one pack a day, smoking is common in adults, but also in teenagers and even younger.&nbsp; Most can agree that tobacco is not a good habit for children or teens to get into for many physiological health-related reasons.&nbsp; However, there&rsquo;s also more and more content out there that says staying tobacco-free is also important for mental health.</p> <p>The connection between mental health and tobacco use</p> <p>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Statistically speaking, over 44% of all of cigarette use is connected to those who have declared themselves as having a mental illness.&nbsp; Per year, that means that almost half of all of the cigarettes smoked by those who are living with or dealing with mental illness.&nbsp; There are two ways to look at this from the data:</p> <ul> <li><strong>Tobacco as the cause:</strong> There is some data that suggests that tobacco use can actually be thought to be a cause for mental illness, at least in part.&nbsp; The best example of this is seen in anxiety.&nbsp; When smoking tobacco, it is thought that the body&rsquo;s anxiety sensitivity heightens, putting them more at risk for panic attacks, paranoia, etc.&nbsp; The younger someone is, the more likely this is to happen.&nbsp; More on this later.</li> <li><strong>Tobacco as the &ldquo;cure&rdquo;:</strong> Those with depression, anxiety, etc. also find smoking tobacco to be a &ldquo;cure&rdquo;.&nbsp; Since tobacco is addictive by nature, those who deal with mental illnesses often find themselves suffering from the &ldquo;need&rdquo; for tobacco in order to help boost them from a depressive spell or calm down from a panic attack, etc.&nbsp; This connects, in their mind, peace and serenity with tobacco and it causes them to lean more heavily on it.&nbsp; The formal name for this is &ldquo;tobacco dependence&rdquo;.</li> </ul> <p>Tobacco holds many risks</p> <p>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; There are many risks to tobacco use, both physiological ones and mental health ones.&nbsp; Many of these risks are long-term as well.</p> <ul> <li><strong>Physiological health risks:</strong> Regular use of tobacco leads to a long list of health conditions, including various cancers, lung problems, obesity, and more.&nbsp; While tobacco use may be helpful for those who need support in mental illness, these risks are still prominent.&nbsp; The more they smoke, the higher the risks get.</li> </ul> <ul> <li><strong>Mental health risks: </strong>There is strong evidence indicating that smoking tobacco can impact mental health, as previously mentioned above.&nbsp; As well, the risk of developing more serious mental health issues (chronic depression or chronic anxiety, for instance) is also heightened when smoking tobacco.&nbsp; Some will even trigger a genetic predisposition to mental health issues.</li> </ul> <p>The danger of tobacco dependence and young adults</p> <p>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; All of this is severe enough, but when connected with young adults and the rise in their tobacco use, these risks and long-term impacts are all magnified.&nbsp; Smoking tobacco at a young age increases their chances of developing a mental illness, and having a mental illness increases their likelihood of smoking tobacco.</p> <p>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; This vicious cycle is heightened in children because they have more of their lives ahead of them with a longer chance of long-term addiction and mental illness.&nbsp; As well, young, still developing minds are more susceptible to long-term physical and mental issues when they reach adulthood.&nbsp; For all of the reasons listed above, keeping children and teens tobacco-free is</p>