Teen Facts


Each day, nearly 6,000 children under 18 years of age start smoking. It is estimated that at least 4.5 million U.S. adolescents are cigarette smokers. Smoking produces significant health problems including an increase in the number and severity of respiratory illnesses, decreased physical fitness, and potential retardation of lung growth.


It affects as many as one in eight people in their teen years. Often teens react to the pain of depression by getting into trouble with alcohol, drugs, sex, school, family or friends. Suicide is the third-leading cause of death among teenagers 15 to 19 after accidents and homicides.


Parents of teenagers are strongly encouraged by the FDA, health experts, and medical professionals to discuss the dangers of indoor tanning and to discourage its use. The concentration of UVA light from a tanning bed is greater than from the sun.


On average, two people die everyday across the U.S. in vehicles driven by 16-year-old drivers. The most deadly single-vehicle crashes involve night driving or at least one passenger age 16-19.

Eating Disorders

They usually start in the teens but may begin as early as age 8. Anorexia nervosa and bulimia often run in families and are on the increase among teenage girls. A teenager with anorexia is typically a perfectionist and high achiever but also suffers from low self-esteem.


It is the Number 1 drug of choice among children/adolescents and is the leading cause of death for persons under age 21. More than 5 million high school students admit to binge drinking at least once a month.


  • Marijuana: It is often called a gateway drug because frequent use often leads to stronger drugs.
  • Cocaine: First-time teen users can stop breathing or have a fatal heart attack.
  • Ecstasy: Many users experience depression, paranoia, anxiety, and confusion. There is concern these effects on the brain and emotion can become permanent with chronic use.
  • Cough/Cold Medicines: Several over-the-counter medicines contain dextromethorphan. If taken in large quantities, they can cause hallucinations and loss of motor control.
  • Inhalants: About 2.6 million 12 to 17- year-olds have used inhalants (snorting chemical vapors in common household products such as spray paint, glue or cleaning products) in the past.
  • Steroids: Researchers at the University of Michigan have concluded that over 300,000 teens take steroids annually. Side effects include: depression, acne, aggression, and stunted height.


About one million pregnancies occur each year among teenagers (ages 15 to 19). Nearly 80 percent of teen mothers eventually go on welfare. Teen fathers are more likely to engage in delinquent behaviors and to use alcohol routinely, deal drugs or quit school.

"The Choking Game"

A growing number of teens are taking part in a potentially deadly trend known as: The Choking Game, The Fainting Game, Passing-Out Game, Space Monkey, Knockout, Gasp, Rising Sun, and Space Cowboy. Kids will play alone or choke each other by using ties, belts, dog leashes, shoelaces, bed sheets, plastic bags or ropes. Warning signs include: bloodshot eyes, headaches, marks on the neck, and closed doors.


APA, American Lung Association, NIAAA, American Academy of Family Physicians, CNN, USA Today, Annie B. Casey Foundation, U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, Washington Post, American Cancer Society, Psychology Information Online, Kids Health, MSNBC, CBS News, and Washington and Shady Grove Adventist Hospitals. The Health Tip of the Week is for educational purposes only. For additional information, consult your physician. Please feel free to copy and distribute this health resource.

This information has been brought to you by Shady Grove Adventist Hospital which is located at 9901 Medical Center Drive in Rockville . For more information on health classes, screenings or support groups offered at the hospital go to www.ShadyGroveAdventistHospital.com, or call 1-800-542-5096 to register. To find a local physician, call 1-800-642-0101 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.