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Word Count: 419
Tobacco Teenagers who pick up a cigarette for the first time may think of it as a harmless experiment They are young and healthy and they are unlikely to think that they are on a path to become lifelong smokers And yet they are wrong One-third to one-half of teenagers who try even a few cigarettes will become a regular smoker Its easy to think of smoking as an adult problem Thats who dies from smoking If someone has not started smoking by age 19 to 21 he or she is not likely to ever become a smoker Nicotine addiction begins when most tobacco users are teenagers The tobacco industry says smoking is a free choice made by an adult But ask a smoker when he or she began and chances are you will hear the tale of a child Seventy percent of teens who smoke report that they regret ever having started Seventy-five percent have tried to quit at least once and failed And those who dont stop smoking are headed down a well-worn path of disease Smoking-related illnesses kill more than 400000 Americans each year Thats more people than the amount of people killed by AIDS car accidents alcohol homicides fires and suicides combined And the real tragedy is that these are preventable The tobacco companies target teenagers with their advertising campaigns as they know the teen years are when smokers are made In 1992 the tobacco industry spent 523 billion advertising its products up from 313 billion in 1985 The only industry that spends more on advertising is the automobile industry The sheer magnitude of advertising creates the impression among young people that smoking is much more ubiquitous and socially acceptable than it is To make smoking seem glamorous to youths tobacco advertising is regularly linked to the world of sports and entertainment The industry also is increasingly using items like caps
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