The habit of tobacco use and smoking starts during adolescence. Many adult smokers, some 80%, have been found to smoke even before they reach their 18th birthday. Most teenagers who use smokeless tobacco become cigarette smokers when they become adults. Although cigarette use in adults is steadily declining, there has been an increase in American high school students using smokeless tobacco.
In an article at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, it approximates the number of young people who become first time smokers before they turn 18 to be 3,800 daily. It also says that 1,000 of these youths eventually become habitual cigarette smokers. In 2009, some 19.5% of American high school students are believed to have smoked at least one cigarette while 5.2% of students in middle school are believed to be present cigarette smokers in that same year.
On the same year, 14% high school students are reported as current cigar smokers while 3.9% of middle school youths are also present cigar smokers. 8.9% highs school students in the US use smokeless tobacco on that same year while 2.6% middle school students are believed to be users of smokeless tobacco products.
Factors related to tobacco use among the youths include: low socioeconomic status; exposure to smoking in movies; guardians or parents are smokers or the parents lack involvement or support; perception that it is the norm to use tobacco; siblings or peers approval and use of tobacco; lack of necessary skills to resist tobacco use influences; price, availability, and accessibility of tobacco products; low academic achievement level; exposure to tobacco ads; low self-esteem or self-images; and aggressive behavior. It is also found out that adolescents’ use tobacco is related to alcohol use, drug use, and high-risk sexual attitudes.