Drug Facts Chat Day: Tobacco

How can you stand up to peer pressure if all your friends are pressuring you to smoke?

Peer pressure can be really difficult to handle. Here are a few tips. Remember that it's your body and at the end of the day, you live with the consequences of your choices. So, be assertive about what you want (tell them to back off). You may want to give them reasons such as "I don't want to be addicted to cigarettes" or "Cigarettes can lead to cancer. Why would I want to smoke?" or even "I can't come home smelling like cigarettes." You may have to ask yourself if your friends are really acting like "friends" if they keep asking you to do something that you don't want to do--especially when it is something that's harmful to you. Stay strong.

Which affects your body more: chewing or smoking tobacco?

This is a really good question! Both chewing and smoking tobacco can negatively affect your body. It's hard to say which will affect your body more, because so much has to do with each person's biology and the amount they smoke or chew, but we do know the more someone uses tobacco (in any form), the greater the effects can be on their body.

Overall, chewing tobacco can cause damage to gum tissue and even loss of teeth. It also reduces a person's ability to taste and smell. Most importantly, smokeless tobacco contains chemicals that can cause cancers of the mouth, pharynx, larynx, and esophagus. This can even happen in very young people who chew tobacco. In fact, most people who develop these cancers used to chew tobacco. Inhaling cigarette smoke pulls more than 7,000 chemicals into a person's lungs. The most dangerous chemicals in cigarette smoke are tar and carbon monoxide. Tar causes lung cancer, emphysema, and bronchial diseases. Carbon monoxide causes heart problems; people who smoke are at high risk for heart disease.

Whether someone smokes, chews, or sniffs tobacco, they're delivering nicotine to the brain and increasing their chances of becoming addicted. Once addicted, it is very difficult to quit, in spite of the severe health consequences.

For more information on smoking or tobacco please go to: http://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/tobacco