The nicotine in tobacco is addictive, and people become addicted much sooner than they expect after they start using products with nicotine. Children and teenagers, even animals, can become addicted to nicotine.

You know you’re addicted when you crave your cigarettes or other tobacco, you feel nervous without your cigarettes, and you try to quit using and have trouble doing it.

Many people believe other forms of tobacco, such as electronic cigarettes or chewing tobacco, are safer than smoking because they’re not inhaling smoke. This simply isn’t true. These products still contain dangerous chemicals and ingredients that can harm the body.

If you use smokeless tobacco you’re at increased risk for illnesses harming your mouth, such as cancer and gum disease. You can lose some teeth, part of your face or your life. In addition, you probably won’t be able to taste or smell things well.

E-cigarettes are addictive and are marketed as a way for users to inhale nicotine without smoking. Problem is that it’s nicotine you’re inhaling.

Smoking cigars, bidis (a thin cigarette or mini-cigar wrapped in a leaf), clove (a cigarette with 2/3 tobacco and 1/3 shredded cloves), or menthol cigarettes aren’t any safer. Chewing tobacco and snuff (dip) are just as bad for you.

Many teens and young adults think they can quit any time — but it isn’t easy to quit. You can quit — and nobody should be afraid to ask for help. Ask for help from your family, school nurse or health care provider. YouTube has several videos available on quitting.

If you quit you can save thousands of dollars, which you could save or spend on clothes, a car or just having fun. Quitting is possible, and it’s the best decision for your life.

Sally Robinson is a clinical professor of pediatrics at UTMB Children’s Hospital. This column isn’t intended to replace the advice of your child’s physician.

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