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Each day in the United States, about 4100 young people between the ages of 12 and 17 try smoking for the first time. Nearly 80% of smokers try their first cigarette before age 18, meaning that children and teenagers constitute the majority of all new smokers. The industry’s advertising and promotion campaigns often have special appeal to these young people, 83 percent of whom choose the three most heavily advertised brands. Within days or weeks of first cigarette use, symptoms of nicotine dependence may appear in adolescents. Smoking at an early age increases the risk of lung cancer, and the risk rises as the individual continues to smoke.

Web Resources

  • Truth
    Truth is the largest youth smoking prevention campaign in the country – and the only national campaign not directed by the tobacco industry.
  • The Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids
    The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids is a leading force in the fight to reduce tobacco use and its deadly toll in the United States and around the world. They advocate for public policies proven to prevent kids from smoking, help smokers quit and protect everyone from secondhand smoke.
  • Youth Tobacco Cessation Collaborative (YTCC)
    The goal of YTCC is to ensure that every young tobacco user (aged 12–24) has access to appropriate and effective cessation interventions. They have released several publications, fact sheets, and presentations on youth tobacco cessation.
  • Healthy Youth: Tobacco Use—Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC)
    This site, hosted by the CDC, includes information on tobacco use among young people and fact sheets on school health policies and programs.

Fact Sheets


Webinars and Podcasts