Welcome to UMatter

Only you can make the decision not to use tobacco, alcohol or drugs. This Web site is designed to give you the facts about tobacco, alcohol and drug use in Columbia. It will also provide you with resources to find factual information about the effects of alcohol and drugs, real stories from teenagers like yourself and answer any questions you might have.

Recent Posts:

Peer Pressure: Its Influence on Teens and Decision Making

Peer influence is not necessarily a bad thing. We are all influenced by our peers, both negatively and positively, at any age. For teens, as school and other activities take you away from home, you may spend more time with your friends than you do with your parents and siblings. As you become more independent, your peers naturally play a greater role in your life. Sometimes, though, particularly in emotional situations, peer influence can be hard to resist—it really has become “pressure”—and you may feel compelled to do something you’re uncomfortable with.

 

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Youth and Tobacco Use

  • Smoking and smokeless tobacco use are initiated and established primarily during adolescence.1,2,3 Nearly 9 out of 10 smokers started smoking by age 18, and 99% started by age 26.1,2,3,4
    • Each day in the United States, more than 3,200 people younger than 18 years of age smoke their first cigarette, and an estimated 2,100 youth and young adults who have been occasional smokers become daily cigarette smokers.2,4
    • If smoking persists at the current rate among youth in this country, 5.6 million of today’s Americans younger than 18 years of age are projected to die prematurely from a smoking-related illness. This represents about one in every 13 Americans aged 17 years or younger alive today.

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Life Balance

Lately, many articles written for adults are focused on the importance of a work/life balance. Although teens may not be holding down full-time jobs, they are still under a lot of pressure from their daily responsibilities, and can benefit from finding a healthy balance. School, extracurricular activities, sports, part-time jobs, and responsibilities at home can cause a teen’s life to feel like a juggling act.

If you feel stressed or overwhelmed, it is important to speak with the adults in your life. They may not realize how much pressure you are feeling if you manage to “get everything done.” Talk to a parent, teacher, or counselor and ask for help in dealing with stress using the suggestions below.

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