Are There Teens Addicted to Smoking?

 In Addiction, Dual-Diagnosis, Life in Recovery, Mental Health, Substance Abuse

Many teenagers smoke. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 9 of 10 adults who smoke cigarettes daily first tried smoking before age 18. Furthermore, approximately 1,600 youth try their first cigarette each day. 

Nicotine is one of the most addictive drugs on earth and is found in many products, including cigarettes and e-cigarettes, as well as chewing tobacco. When nicotine is absorbed by the body and then metabolized, adrenaline (a hormone) is secreted by the adrenal glands, leading to sparked feelings of pleasure and quick bursts of energy, which makes it appealing.

Are There Teens Addicted to Smoking?

There are many teens addicted to smoking. Teens who smoke and try to give up nicotine struggle with giving it up, just as adults do. Furthermore, the addiction rate for smoking is higher than that for alcohol, marijuana or cocaine. 

In addition to cigarettes, vaping is another significant problem among teens, which is essentially another form of smoking. 21.5% of 8th grade students, 36.9% of 10th grade students and 42.5% of 12th grade students reported vaping at least once in their lives, according to teenage vaping statistics from 2018

Nicotine addiction among teens is a very realistic problem for teens who smoke tobacco products regularly. There is less government oversight and regulation about e-cigarettes and which products are in them. Many teens report vaping nicotine simply for the flavors that are added to them that make them so appealing.

Nicotine has negative effects on the brain – especially in teens. The adult brain continues to develop and is not fully mature until 25 years of age, which means virtually all teenagers’ brains are still developing. Nicotine can decrease impulse control and increase the likelihood of developing addiction later in life – even to other substances aside from tobacco. 

Nicotine Addiction Symptoms in Teens

How can a person recognize the signs of nicotine addiction in teens? Some teens may exhibit more obvious signs of nicotine addiction than others. The symptoms that some teens may be more uncomfortable than others’ – especially if a physical dependence on nicotine has developed. Even teens who use nicotine infrequently can become addicted or have a difficult time dropping the habit right away. 

Withdrawal from nicotine can occur in those who are addicted. Symptoms of nicotine addiction withdrawal can include:

  • Restlessness
  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Sadness
  • Sweating
  • Hunger
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Cravings 

What to Do if Your Teen Is Smoking Cigarettes

If you suspect your child is smoking, it is first important to avoid using ultimatums or making threats. Ask questions to find out why your child is smoking or vaping. Discuss any changes that need to be made in your teen’s life to stop smoking. 

You may also want to point out to your teen that it is likely that he or she is already addicted to nicotine. The tobacco industry spends billions of dollars each year on marketing to youth, glamorizing the use of e-cigarettes. Ask your child to consider if he has been targeted and manipulated by these companies to help motivate them to quit as this can make them feel angry. Perhaps he has experienced peer pressure from friends, which could eventually spiral into addiction to illicit substances that are even more harmful.

If you feel your teen needs help quitting smoking, reach out to a program like ours at Adolescent Wellness Academy for help.

How Adolescent Wellness Academy Can Help Your Teen With Their Mental Health Today

Adolescent Wellness Academy seeks to help teens and adolescents who suffer from substance abuse, including addiction to nicotine. We also help to address any co-occurring mental health disorders that might contribute to the onset of addictive tendencies or the inability to cease using substances. 

Our team of caring professionals has extensive experience helping teens with mental health and substance abuse with a significant record of helping teens overcome these struggles to go on to live happier and more whole lives. We even offer an after school treatment program so your student can continue on with his or her education without interruption while receiving help.

Contact us today to find out more about our program that can help your teen. We are waiting with open arms. 

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