The rise of teen smoking

For most teens, traditional cigarettes are going the way of the dinosaurs. However, a new trend has arisen in teen smoking: e-cigarettes and hookah.

The rise of the e-cigarette

Between 2011 and 2014, the traditional cigarette has declined in teen smoking popularity from 16 percent to 9 percent. In order to quit, many teens are turning to e-cigarettes. E-cigarettes come in a variety of flavors, from Sweet Tart to Unicorn Puke. Most scientists agree that e-cigarettes are far less harmful than traditional cigarettes because they don’t have tar and other harmful chemicals. For many teens, this is appealing.

Easily accessible

E-cigarettes are being advertised very similarly to the cigarette ads of old, which is to say there has been very little regulation. Many teens under the age of 18 have been able to get their hands on e-cigarettes online, simply by clicking “yes” when asked if they are of age. The accessibility of e-cigarettes has helped create a culture around e-cigarettes. Teens are customizing their equipment, which they call “vapes.” Vape stores are popping up across the country, allowing young people nationwide to buy e-cigs without any issues.

Harmful effects

Though advertised as a healthy alternative to cigarettes, e-cigarettes, like traditional cigarettes, have nicotine in them. Nicotine is extremely harmful to developing teen brains. Like generations before them, teens are getting hooked on tobacco. “Adolescence is a critical time for brain development,” said Dr. Tom Frieden, head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Nicotine exposure at a young age might cause lasting harm to brain development, promote addiction and lead to sustained tobacco use.” Some public health researchers fear that e-cigarettes will hook teens on nicotine, which will turn into traditional cigarette use.

Popularity of hookah

According to a recent study, one in five high school students have used a hookah, which is tobacco smoked out of a Middle Eastern pipe. This smoking style is increasing in popularity because it is seen as more socially acceptable than traditional forms of smoking. Like the e-cigarette, many teens believe it is healthier for you than traditional cigarettes. However, the charcoal used to heat tobacco in the hookah increases the health risks by producing smoke that contains high levels of carbon monoxide, metals and cancer-causing chemicals.

Helping your teen

If your teen is addicted to cigarettes, e-cigarettes or hookah, a wilderness therapy program, such as Trails Carolina, can help. Trails Carolina offers a multi-dimensional wilderness therapy program that can help your child overcome teen smoking and addiction.
Learn more about Trails Carolina by calling us today at 800-975-7303.

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Trails saved my daughter’s life. Amanda is an amazing human and a brilliant therapist. I am so grateful to her, Science Steve, and the other wonderful people who could reach my daughter at a time when I could not.

Margot Lowman August 2022

Great life changing experience for our son. After becoming addicted to gaming during covid he was very depressed. At Trails he experienced the wilderness, Science Steve, learning survival skills and top notch therapy and support etc… I highly recommend! This gave our son and our family a renewed family bond full of love and excitement about his bright future.

Winnifred Wilson July 2022


Outstanding clinical work and superb staff! There’s a great culture at this company and it shows with how they engage with families/clients.

Kristin Brace June 2022


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