U P P E R S:
What is it? Tobacco is a plant whose leaves are dried and prepared for smoking, chewing, or sniffed up the nose as snuff (a powder). The active ingredient of tobacco is nicotine, a very strong drug.
How does it make you feel? Smoking a first cigarette can make a person feel light-headed (high) and slightly sick to their stomach. After several hours of smoking (which might be 1 or 2 cigarettes every day for a week) the body "gets used to" the nicotine. When that happens the smoker needs to keep smoking just to feel "normal."
|How easy is it to become "used to" the nicotine? All drugs are poison to your body. But because your body is so amazingly devoted to keeping you
alive, it can become "tolerant" to having poison in it. Even though
people have known for a long time that cigarette smoking causes
cancer we've only recently realized how addictive nicotine is.
So how addictive is it?
Nicotine is the most addicting drug there is.(That's pretty addictive!)
320,000 American die each year because of nicotine addiction. And worldwide, cigarette smoking causes more health problems than anything else. But even so... every day 3,000 American teens decide to smoke their first cigarette.
What's an overdose like? There is no medical evidence that the body will shut down from too much nicotine. The most negative effect of nicotine (cancer) comes from long term use.
What's withdrawal like? Many many people really want to stop smoking. You probably know some teens and adults who have tried and then gone back to it. Why? Because when they stop smoking for even less than a day they feel really sick. When they don't have their cigarettes, they feel so lousy they want to smoke again just to stop the headaches, major crankiness, nervousness, and inability to sleep. The few lucky ones who manage to quit, go through withdrawal, and successfully come out the other side, say they never lose their craving for nicotine.
Is it legal? As of February 28, 1997 it is illegal for someone under 18 to buy cigarettes in the U.S. It is also illegal for someone over 18 to buy cigarettes for someone under 18. As of August 28, 1997, cigarette vending machines will be outlawed in places where minors have access (like convenience stores). Outdoor advertising within 1000 feet of schools, playgrounds will also be illegal.
If you think you may have a problem with cigarettes or know someone who does...
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last updated November 19, 2005
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