The best way to keep adolescents from smoking is to focus on issues close to their hearts-how it affects their looks, their popularity, and their physical performance-says Laurence Steinberg, Ph.D., author of You and Your Adolescent: The Essential Guide for Ages 10-25. These six smoking myths summarize what they need to know-and may help remind adults who are trying to quit, too.
Myth: Smoking is sexy.
Facts: Smoking causes bad breath, yellow teeth, gum disease, hacking coughs, excess phlegm, smelly hair, stained fingers, and burn holes in your favorite clothes. Surveys show that most teenagers do not want to go out with, much less kiss, someone who smokes.
Myth: Cigarettes are relaxing.
Facts: In reality, the opposite is true. Just one puff on a cigarette causes heart rate and blood pressure to increase. The reason smokers feel that cigarettes are relaxing is that they are addicted to nicotine. When the nicotine from their last cigarette wears off (about a half hour