A recent survey found that only 9% of teens in the United States smoke cigarettes. That’s down from 23% in 2000. It’s less than the numbers of landlines still in use and the number of VHS tapes sold in 2013. While this is good news for America’s overall health, tobacco use is still a problem.
Cigarettes have been linked to cancer, lung disease, diabetes, heart conditions, and high blood pressure. Despite knowing the health effects, teenagers still smoke. According to the American Lung Association, every day almost 3,900 children under 18 years of age try their first cigarette, and more than 950 of them will become daily smokers. If the trend continues at its current rate, 5.8 million children alive today will die as a result of smoking.
The Truth campaign is working to end teenage smoking all together. Their latest #FinishIt series uses social media to spread awareness about the dangers of smoking. “If we all join forces – smokers and non-smokers – we can end smoking once and for all,” the campaign website states. The campaign encourages teens to not judge, but instead to learn the facts. “We’re not here to criticize your choices, or tell you not to smoke. We’re here to arm everyone – smokers and non-smokers – with the tools to make change,” they say.