This is part 1 of a two-part series about underage smoking at Halloween or other parties. Your teen has been invited to a Halloween or other kind of party or function. Suddenly, one or more people attending this party pressure this teen to smoke. What does he or she do?
Laws about underage smoking
What are the laws about underage smoking? According to the Smoking Age in the United States article found on Wikipedia, “no retailer may sell cigarettes or smokeless tobacco to any person younger than 18 years of age. Depending on state law, it may or may not be illegal for a person under 18 to use tobacco products.” In some states, the purchase age has been raised to age 19: Alabama, Alaska, New Jersey, Utah, and three counties in New York: Nassau, Suffolk, and Onondaga.
What happens to states that break that law? According to this article on Wikipedia, “Although the federal government has made the minimum age for purchasing tobacco to be 18, and any state that is below that minimum age of 18 gets grants withheld from FEMA whenever a natural disaster occurs in their jurisdiction. Currently, no states fit into this category.”
A few facts about the hazards of tobacco products in teens
Four of the five chemicals contained in cigarettes include formaldehyde which you use to preserve dead frogs, cyanide which is used in rat poisoning, insecticide which is used to kill bugs, and tar which is used to pave roads. Watch these two YouTube videos about the tar content.
YouTube Video – An illustration of tar in cigarettes
YouTube Video – Every Cigarette is Doing you Damage – Tar Commercial
Since most teens have not reached their full growth, their lungs are not fully developed. If they use tobacco products, they can stunt the growth of their lungs. This means that their lungs could remain the size they are currently while the rest of the body achieves full growth. As a result, they risk getting breathing problems or asthma or what is called that ‘smoker’s cough’.
Other risks include getting leathery skin or stained teeth. Additionally, one in three or one in five teenagers, depending on which literature you read, ends up dying of a smoking-related disease. It is even possible for someone to die from lung cancer during their middle school or high school years.
Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act
On June 22, 2009, President Obama signed the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. Watch the video or check out the following resources to learn more.
YouTube Video – President Obama Signs Kids Tobacco Legislation by Whitehouse.gov
President Obama signs the Family Smoking Prevention & Tobacco Control Act
by US Headlines Examiner on Examiner.com, Charisse Van Horn
Family Smoking Prevention & Tobacco Control Act (PDF)
Other Resources about Smoking
Part 1 – Laws about underage smoking at Halloween or other parties
Part 2 – Peer pressure to underage smoke at Halloween or other parties
Smoking Facts on Do Something.org
Your Total Health, a service of NBC and iVillage
Underage Smoking from Drug Story.org
Smoking Age – United States of America
Mystery Shoppers Cut Underage Smoking
State of Tobacco Control: 2008 by American Lung Association
Special Report – FDA Authority over Tobacco
Kick Butts Day 2010 includes winner & merit finalists YouTube videos
Other Resources about Underage Drinking
Part 1 – Laws about underage drinking at Halloween or other parties
Part 2 – Peer pressure to underage drink at Halloween or other parties
Part 3 – Fight or Flight: Underage drink at Halloween or other parties