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National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion -- Tobacco Information and Prevention Source (TIPS)

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Click to get this page in SpanishWhat You(th) Should Know  About Tobacco

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Tobacco and Athletic Performance

  • Don’t get trapped. Nicotine in cigarettes, cigars, and spit tobacco is addictive.
  • Nicotine narrows your blood vessels and puts added strain on your heart.
  • Smoking can wreck lungs and reduce oxygen available for muscles used during sports.
  • Smokers suffer shortness of breath (gasp!) almost 3 times more often than nonsmokers.
  • Smokers run slower and can’t run as far, affecting overall athletic performance.
  • Cigars and spit tobacco are NOT safe alternatives.

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Tobacco and Personal Appearance

  • Yuck! Tobacco smoke can make hair and clothes stink.
  • Tobacco stains teeth and causes bad breath.
  • Short-term use of spit tobacco can cause cracked lips, white spots, sores, and bleeding in the mouth.
  • Surgery to remove oral cancers caused by tobacco use can lead to serious changes in the face. Sean Marcee, a high school star athlete who used spit tobacco, died of oral cancer when he was 19 years old.

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S0. . .

  • Know the truth. Despite all the tobacco use on TV and in movies, music videos, billboards and magazines---most teens, adults, and athletes DON’T use tobacco.
  • Make friends, develop athletic skills, control weight, be  independent, be cool..... play sports.
  • Don’t waste (burn) money on tobacco. Spend it on CD’s, clothes, computer games, and movies.

Get involved: make your team, school, and home tobacco-free; teach others; join community efforts to prevent tobacco use.

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This page last reviewed March 25, 2004.

United States Department of Health and Human Services
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
Office on Smoking and Health