The Effects of Using Tobacco

Although the negative effects of smoking are well documented, many people are not aware of them. Your teen may think that the health-related consequences of smoking aren’t so bad, or that they will only see the effects after many years of tobacco use. Be sure to let them know that even the short-term effects can be serious and that it’s not worth risking the long-term effects just to relieve stress or fit in.

Read about more about talking with your child about the health consequences of smoking.

Short-Term Effects of Smoking

  • Increased susceptibility to respiratory illness 1
  • Shortness of breath 2
  • Impaired lung growth and function
  • Bad breath
  • Foul-smelling clothes

Long-Term Effects of Smoking

  • Lung, mouth, throat, kidney, and stomach cancers
  • Coronary heart disease 3
  • Emphysema and other chronic diseases 1
  • Significantly reduced lifespan – If teens continue their habit into adulthood, they can expect to spend over $75,000 in excess medical care related to their smoking, and a life expectancy up to 20 years shorter than non-smokers.5
  • Contrary to common belief, smoking may also increase depressive symptoms in some adolescents. 6

Health Effects of Smokeless Tobacco


  • Smokeless tobacco contains 28 cancer-causing agents (carcinogens).7,9
  • Smokeless tobacco is a known cause of human cancer; it increases the risk of developing cancer of the oral cavity and pancreas. 9,10

Oral Health:

  • Smokeless tobacco is also strongly associated with leukoplakia—a precancerous lesion of the soft tissue in the mouth that consists of a white patch or plaque that cannot be scraped off. 8
  • Smokeless tobacco is associated with recession of the gums, gum disease, and tooth decay. 8

Reproductive Health:

  • Smokeless tobacco use during pregnancy increases the risks for preeclampsia (i.e., a condition that may include high blood pressure, fluid retention, and swelling), premature birth, and low birth weight.9
  • Smokeless tobacco use by men causes reduced sperm count and abnormal sperm cells.9

Nicotine Addiction:

  • Smokeless tobacco use can lead to nicotine addiction and dependence.7,9
  • Adolescents who use smokeless tobacco are more likely to become cigarette smokers.8

Even though it may seem obvious to adults that the risks of smoking and smokeless tobacco use outweigh the benefits, teens don’t always see it that way. Remind your teen of the effects, both short- and long-term, that smoking and tobacco use can have, even if you think he or she should already know.


1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, The Health Consequences of Smoking: A Report of the Surgeon General (Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2004).

2. Ali H. Mokdad, James S. Marks, Donna F. Stroup, and Julie L. Gerberding, “Actual Causes of Death in the United States,” JAMA 291 (2004): 1238-44.

3. American Lung Association, Smoking 101 Fact Sheet (2008),….

4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Annual Smoking-Attributable Mortality, Years of Potential Life Lost, and Economic Costs—United States, 1995-1999,” MMWR 51, no. 14 (2002): 300-3.

5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Smoking-Attributable Mortality, Morbidity, and Economic Costs (2006).

6. Michael Chaiton, Joanna Cohen, Jennifer O’Loughlin, & Juergen Rehm. Use of Cigarettes to Improve Affect and Depressive Symptoms in a Longitudinal Study of Adolescents. Addictive Behaviors 35 , no. 12 (2010): 1054-1060.

7. National Cancer Institute. Smokeless Tobacco or Health: An International Perspective . Bethesda, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute; 1992 [accessed 2011 Jan 26].

8. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Preventing Tobacco Use Among Young People: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 1994 [accessed 2011 Jan 26].

9. World Health Organization. Smokeless Tobacco and Some Tobacco-Specific N-Nitrosamines . (PDF–3.18 MB) International Agency for Research on Cancer Monographs on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans Vol. 89. Lyon, France: World Health Organization, 2007 [accessed 2011 Jan 26].

10. World Health Organization. Summaries and Evaluations: Tobacco Products, Smokeless (Group 1) . Lyon, France: World Health Organization, International Agency for Research on Cancer, 1998 [accessed 2011 Jan 26].



my opinion is that nobody should smoke…...point blank period. why would someone want to harm themselves by inhaling this toxic chemical. parents who smoke and have a young teen who smoke and is telling your child that its deadly and can harm you…..your the biggest HYPOCRITE in the world….how about this, you stop smoking and be a better influence on your kids for the pastor be saying ashes to ashes to you and your child!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1 #SNAPPING

did you know that chewing tabacco is a very very very very dangerous choice to do that is so so so so so so so so so so stupid


this guy is awsome. good point of view as well

so i guess i can agree with u on that… but smoking is bad for everyone. thats like the final answer to it all. dont smoke. u can die from it!! y would u want to die early in life?? u still have time to change ur life around.. so go for it dont smoke!

this not only tells what may happen but the risks of anyone smoking have effects on them. but by breathing this in one object or whatever else this is so over the top insane! its like you getting something so deadly and having to hurt someone else that you may know but if someone quits soon it can get better for them because i had someone in my family smoke and got throat cancer and by the time she went to the doctors it was too late to save or do anything to help save her life. so anyone with effects on that please for the sake of god or your savior pleas quit smoking or you may have your last few days without hope


oh my goodness, i had no clue. I am doing this for a homework assignment and it is astonishing, what cigaretts and cigars and everything else can do!!!!!!

Smoking not only dangers u, but it dangers all around u. So pls don’t destroy the world for ur happiness.

i agree smoking is bad


wow this really didnt help with my problem at all

That’s interesting

tobaco is v.v.v.bad


Thanks for the help! I had to use this for my high school h/w!!! :)

it is just like slow poision to pull the life in to the well of die.

no one should smoke.. period.


good facts

switch to e-cigs!


If you want to smoke, smoke. It is your body, your life. Which instead of being taught “ Don’t use tobacco it is bad” we should only teach kids what the Con’s are compared to the pro’s, show how the Con’s out weight them. Then itll take away the “ I’m smoking because im soo rebellious” aspect.


awesome to help on school assingment!


It was as Awesome as a unicorn!!!!!!!!!!!


I couldn’t believe chewing tobacco was bad.

thanks for the info it helped me with my school project

I learned sooooooooooo much!
Thank you !:)


really usefull for todays young generations


Really not that useful, next time add more info thanks:)


more info plz thx


you didnt have any non health affects which i needed for a project






it was quite boring and stupid

it helped me a lot with my project



Very good website and also for high school students for there assignments


If tobacco is a problem than why not just cut back on the production a little bit

Smoking causes lost of brain damage.



Thank you so much for the info I needed it for a project :D


in in iss right now because I was cought using this product. I was dumb right? well you know what? its my life and if you don’t like the way im living it then its your own problem not mine. idc what you think about me, just leave me alone!!

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