The Inside Story on Teen Girls: Experts Answer Teens’ Questions
TOBACCO, ALCOHOL, AND DRUGS
Tobacco, alcohol and illegal drugs affect boys and girls differently.
Here's what you should know:
Girls and women have a more difficult time quitting smoking than men.
Girls and women aged 12-24 are more likely to report being unable
to cut down on smoking than men and boys the same age and are also
significantly more likely than boys to report feeling dependent on
cigarettes, and are more likely to report feeling sad, blue, or depressed
during quit attempts, according to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.
The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids also reports smoking among girls
and young women has increased dramatically in the 1990's, with smoking
among high school girls increasing from 27 percent in 1991 to 34.7
percent in 1997. Among female high school seniors, smoking is at its
highest rate since 1979: 35.2% of female high-school seniors are current
smokers. Marketing cigarettes as "slims" or "thins"
plays into social pressures on young women to control their weight,
manage stress, and appear grown-up, according to the group.
When you start to drink at a young age, you are also putting
yourself at greater risk later on. Kids who started to drink before
age 15 are four times more likely to get hooked on alcohol than those
who began to drinkafter age 21.
Binge drinking brings with it serious alcohol-related problems, such
as unprotected and unplanned sex, getting into trouble with police,
damage to property and getting hurt or injured, driving under the influence
or riding with a driver who was high or drunk, getting behind in school
work or doing something you later regret. No question about it, underage
drinking can damage and jeopardize your health and lifetime prospects.
And for girls who try to keep up with their boyfriend's or other male
friend's drinking, you should know they have a lower tolerance for alcohol
due to weight and their amount of body water. Therefore girls who drink
the same amount as their guy friends will get drunk faster and can develop
other problems sooner.
There are stronger
forms of marijuana available to kids today than in the 1960s which means
stronger effects. There are serious consequences to marijuana use, especially
for teens, which include impairment of short-term memory, concentration
and motor skills, critical for a child's intellectual and social development;
greater likelihood of use of another illegal drug such as cocaine or
heroin; increased likelihood of having unprotected sex or sex with multiple
partners, leaving them at greater risk of pregnancy, AIDS and other
sexually-transmitted diseases; possible long-term physical and psychological
dependence and/or slowed reaction time, impaired coordination and decrease
attention span, leading to increased highway accidents and fatalities.
© The National
Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia