Home > Teens on Drugs > The Truths About Teen Smoking- Is it a Gateway Drug?

The Truths About Teen Smoking- Is it a Gateway Drug?

teen-smoking-gateway-drugTobacco is likely the easiest form of drugs for your teen to get their hands on.

To help prevent your teen or younger children from giving into the temptation of tobacco use, understand the following truths.


1. No teenager is exempt.

In the U.S., more than 3,000 young people become regular smokers each day. That’s more than 1 million new smokers each year. Even if you believe your teen to be making good choices and spending time with good influences, glamorous advertising and pop culture are also highly influential.

2. First time smoking almost always happens before high school graduation.

According to studies done by the CDC, if your teen doesn’t smoke before they graduate, chances are they never will. This means middle to high school is a highly influential time to keep them making good choices.

3. The first step to prevent teen smoking is good self esteem.

Often times, teens start smoking to ‘be accepted.’ Other reasons include modeling someone they admire, overcoming stress and attempting to lose weight. By helping your teen develop valuable friendships, deal with stress and shape a healthy body image, you’ll also help them build resilience.

4. They need to hear it from you.

While it may seem like your teen only listens to their friends, you are the biggest influence as far as building good values. Send a clear message that you view smoking as unhealthy. Be sure to use real facts and statistics instead of using scare tactics.

5. If your teen already smokes, they may need help quitting.

Quitting isn’t always as easy as them stopping because you asked. A lot of teens don’t realize how addicted they are until it’s too late. It may be necessary they team up with a doctor.


Is tobacco a gateway drug?

Yes. For teens who smoke, they chances of trying much stronger drugs are greatly increased. Statistical findings from the NIDA are as follows.

  • 95% of high school seniors who smoke tried illicit drugs

  • 94% of smoking seniors tried marijuana

  • 49% of smoking seniors tried cocaine

  • 67.9% of smoking seniors did some heavy drinking


Next week, we’ll discuss how to talk to your teen about smoking. For more information about teen drug use, visit your local ARCpoint Lab today.


  1. July 22, 2013 at 4:44 pm

    Wow, didn’t know the numbers were that high! Interesting that if the teen doesn’t smoke before they graduate, chances are they never will.

  2. July 22, 2013 at 6:28 pm

    Crazy statistics. It’s important to keep your children off of smoking cigs and drugs until they mature enough to handle the weight of such decisions on their own.

  3. July 23, 2013 at 3:30 pm

    Those numbers are higher then I thought for smoking being a gateway activity.

  4. July 23, 2013 at 5:34 pm

    All teens need support from their parents on issues like this.

  5. July 24, 2013 at 2:20 pm

    Who knew it was a gateway drug! Thanks for sharing this information.

  6. July 24, 2013 at 3:34 pm

    Keep your kids away from smoking as much as possible. The more they see it the more they will want to try at some point.

  7. July 24, 2013 at 8:36 pm

    Wow, 3,000 new young smokers every day? That is crazy! I thought more people were starting to wise up about smoking.

  8. July 25, 2013 at 6:18 pm

    Those numbers seem really high in terms of smoking being a gateway drug dang. Very surprising for sure!

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