In the U.S., cigarettes cause more than 480,000 deaths each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 16 million Americans have a smoking-related disease.
Unfortunately, adults aren’t the only ones smoking. Young people also smoke.
Teenagers think it is cool to smoke and are pressured into smoking, or their parents smoke so they think it is OK.
People might threaten to beat up the person if he or she doesn’t smoke. Adolescents hang around people who smoke. They might be laughed at if they don’t smoke. Smoking makes teens feel grown up.
One-fifth of teens are using some form of tobacco, so millions are putting themselves at risk of an early death. Even if only one person smokes, it’s one too many. Teen smokers have a higher risk of lung disease, cancer, early death and many other terrible things.
Even though there are programs to stop kids from smoking, these aren’t enough until there are no more smokers. Even with all the anti-smoking commercials and parents telling teens it’s bad to smoke, teens still smoke. For teens to stop smoking, parents need to stop smoking, too.
Nathan Wilcox, 13, of Kansas City, is a seventh-grade student at St. Elizabeth School. He is a Boy Scout in Troop 150. The letter is for a communications merit badge. He has a brother, Ian, 14, and a sister, Michaela, 8. His parents are James and Mary Wilcox.