You Said It: “I Know Someone Who Started Smoking and Wishes They Could Quit”

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Tobacco wrinkles, bad breath, yellow teeth, wheezing, stinky clothes. Addiction skin damage cataracts wrinkles mouth cancer throat cancer heart disease lung disease image of young man

Image by NIDA. 

“You Said It” is a periodic series based on real teens’ answers to the NIDA for Teens poll questions. Check out our current poll on the NIDA for Teens homepage.

Fewer teens than ever before are using cigarettes. Those who do smoke, however, are finding out that once you start, it can be difficult to stop.

In a recent NIDA for Teens poll, more than half (53 percent) of those who participated agreed with the statement, “I know someone who started smoking and wishes they could quit.”

If you know someone who has talked about quitting, and you want to help, listen without judgment and consider sharing some of the following facts with your friend.

The numbers aren’t pretty.

  • Tobacco use is the #1 preventable cause of illness and death in the United States.
  • Cigarettes cause more than 480,000 premature deaths in the United States each year. That’s about 1,300 deaths every day.

Smoking can be harmful to your body.

There are tools and tips that can help with quitting.

  • Programs like Smokefree Teen offer free text messages that give 24/7 tips, advice, and encouragement to help someone become—and stay—tobacco free.

It’s great to show someone how much you care, but whether your friend stops smoking isn’t in your control. If you need help finding the right words to use or knowing how to handle a specific situation, talk with a parent or another trusted adult for advice.

Feeling pressured to smoke or use drugs? Check out these tips for handling peer pressure.

Find Help Near You

Use the SAMHSA Treatment Locator to find substance use or other mental health services in your area. If you are in an emergency situation, this toll-free, 24-hour hotline can help you get through this difficult time: call 1-800-273-TALK, or visit the Suicide Prevention Lifeline. We also have step by step guides on what to do to help yourself, a friend or a family member.

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