Teens and the Many Types of Tobacco Products

by Dr Antonio Howell, MD

in quit smoking

Dr. Howell

Tobacco companies are very much creative when increasing their sales and attracting new patrons. Unlike before, teens today have a variety of options when it comes to tobacco use. So if you think only of cigarettes when you think of teens and smoking, well maybe it’s about time you get to know the many other forms of tobacco that your child may get hooked into.

problematic teen boy smoking in classroom

Cigars. Since the introduction of smaller cigars in the market in 1998, it is among the fastest growing products in the tobacco market. It is more like the usual cigarettes sold in packs only that it is brown and is being offered in different flavors like candy, chocolate, and fruit, which are very much appealing to the youth.

Since there is no regulation of cigars and these product are not taxed. They become more accessible to teens as they come cheaper.

Smokeless Tobaccos or Spits. Spit, oral tobacco, snuff, or whatever street names it has, these type of tobacco product can cause different types of cancer like cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, and pancreas. It is also known to cause different gum diseases.


Snus (“Snoose”) and Dissolvable Tobacco. Almost 2% of high school students are using snus and 6.2% have actually tried it. Snus is similar to moist snuff only that it is a finely grounded and are sold in pouches. It can also be used similar to snuff.

Dissolvable tobacco are in forms of lozenges, pellets, orbs, strips, or sticks. They are either chewed, held in the mouth, or sucked until the nicotine is absorbed in the mouth tissues. These products are often mint-flavored.

Hookahs. It started in the Middle East and Asia, hookah smoking is often a social practice where smokers socialize and spend time together as the mouthpiece is pass around. Tobacco, mixed with flavorings (like mint, honey, molasses, fruits), are heated in a water pipe, and the flavored smoke is inhaled through the mouthpiece connected by a long tube or hose to the water pipe. About 5% of high school students are into hookahs.


E-Cigarettes. Electronic cigarettes or e-cig are similar to hookahs only that it is much smaller, convenient, and are mobile. E-cigarette comes in different forms and designs. The device is battery powered. Similar to hookahs, the nicotine mixture (usually with flavoring) is heated and the vapor is inhaled through the mouthpiece. Often offered as safer alternative to smoking, e-cigarettes has almost the same harmful effects as regular smoking.

Clove Cigarettes. Kreteks (“kree-teks”), contain 60-70% tobacco and 30-40% ground cloves and other additives. It may contain lesser tobacco but produces higher nicotine, tar, and carbon monoxide than regular cigarettes. It is known to cause asthma, lung inflammation, and fluid to the lungs.

Flavored Cigarettes. Bidis or beedies originated from Southeast Asian countries and India. These tobacco product are sold in chocolate, strawberry, cherry, orange, and licorice flavor. It is hand-rolled in a tendu leaf and has colorful strings at the end. They cost cheaper than usual cigarettes and gives a quick and stronger kick as it contain high amounts of nicotine.

Regardless of the form, color, and appearance tobacco products have the same health risks. In one way or another, your child are at higher risks of heart disease, heart attack, chronic bronchitis, emphysema, cancer, and other serious illnesses related to tobacco use.



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