Appointments

866.320.4573

Request an Appointment

Questions

800.223.2273

Contact us with Questions

Expand Content

Lifestyle Choices

Teenage Drinking is dangerous. And it's bad for your health too!

At any high school party, there most likely will be alcohol.  Of course, the legal drinking age is 21, but according to the U.S. Department of Health, in 2002 and 2003, “there were approximately 7.2 million persons under the legal drinking age” who drank alcohol.  What is it about drinking alcohol that causes so many underage Americans to break the law?  Reasons may vary , but most teens drink because of peer pressure and the desire to fit in.

Health risks

There are obviously many risks that one takes when one drinks, underage or not. For example, alcohol is a considered a depressant because it slows the functions of the central nervous system. It is still not known how alcohol affects memory and learning skills of those who drink heavily as a teens, but excessive alcohol use may make school performance worse. Teenagers who drink heavily may also be at higher risk for alcohol abuse as adults.

Being underage is reason enough not to drink, and underage drinking is illegal. Also, alcohol is a highly addictive substance, and over-consumption can happy quickly. Most teens have not learned their limits yet, and drink more than their bodies can handle. This can cause alcohol poisoning, which causes vomiting, unconsciousness, difficulty breathing, dangerously low blood sugar, seizures and possibly death. In addition, alcohol can lead to fatal car accidents, which puts the teen at risk as well as those unknowing drivers around him or her. It does not take much alcohol to impair driving ability. In addition, teens who drink can die from homicide, suicide and other accidents.

Aside from getting sick and breaking the law, another fact about drinking is that all alcoholic beverages (even the “light” kinds) contain many calories and carbohydrates. Let’s look at the calories and carbohydrates in beer:

Brand Name 
Calories Carbohydrates (g)
Budweiser 145 10.6
Coors Light 102 5
Miller 143 13.1
Michelob 155 13.3
Heineken 150 11.5
Corona 148 14

And here’s just a look at a few cocktails:

Types
Calories
Carbohydrates (g)
Gin and Tonic 200 4
Bloody Mary
180
4
Margarita up to 500 up to 10
Long Island Iced Tea up to 550
up to 11

Melissa Ohlson, MS, RD, Nutrition Program Coordinator of Preventive Cardiology says that “in addition to the health risks, drinking alcohol tacks on a lot of extra calories.”  It takes a lot of exercise to work off all of the calories. 

So, why drink alcoholic beverages and intake all of these calories when for the same amount of calories you could treat yourself to chocolate or ice cream?

Drinking can potentially cause many long-term health problems that may not show up until adulthood. More than 2 million Americans have been diagnosed with alcohol-related liver disease. You could get alcoholic hepatitis (inflammation of the liver), alcoholic cirrhosis (scarring of the liver), or liver cancer. Drinking can also cause heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, and different types of cancer (esophagus, mouth, throat and larynx (voice box). Lastly, drinking can potentially cause pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas).

So, before you drink - take this message to heart - and to your health!

To see statistics, and learn more about drinking please visit:

When to Call

If you are concerned about how your alcohol use is affecting your health and your relationships with others, learn more about the Cleveland Clinic Alcohol and Drug Recovery Center's (ADRC) Adolescent Treatment Program

Smoking is bad for your health!

Smoking cigarettes “has been identified as the most important source of preventable morbidity and premature mortality worldwide” (Smoking 101 Fact Sheet). Smoking is probably worse for you than you think. For example, 438,000 Americans die from smoking-related diseases annually.

Here are some facts about smoking from the American Lung Association:
  • Cigarette smoke contains over 4,800 chemicals, 69 of which are known to cause cancer. Smoking is directly responsible for approximately 90 percent of lung cancer deaths and approximately 80-90 percent of COPD (emphysema and chronic bronchitis)
  • Males tend to have significantly higher rates of smoking prevalence than females. In 2005, 23.9 percent of males currently smoked compared to 18.1 percent of females
  • Each day, nearly 6,000 children under 18 years of age start smoking; of these, nearly 2,000 will become regular smokers. That is almost 800,000 annually
  • Approximately 90 percent of smokers begin smoking before the age of 21
  • If current tobacco use patterns persist, an estimated 6.4 million children will die prematurely from a smoking-related disease
  • Tobacco use in adolescence is associated with a range of heath-compromising behaviors, including being involved in fights, carrying weapons, engaging in high-risk sexual behavior and using alcohol and other drugs

In addition, secondhand smoke is very bad for you. Second hand smoke “is a mixture of the smoke given off by the burning end of a cigarette, pipe, or cigar and the smoke exhaled from the lungs of smokers” (Secondhand Smoke Fact Sheet).

Here are some facts about second-hand smoke from the American Lung Association (to shock those who do not believe that their smoking does not affect others):
  • Secondhand smoke has been classified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a known cause of cancer in humans (Group A carcinogen)
  • Secondhand smoke exposure causes disease and premature death in children and adults who do not smoke. Secondhand smoke contains hundreds of chemicals known to be toxic or carcinogenic, including formaldehyde, benzene, vinyl chloride, arsenic ammonia, and hydrogen cyanide
    • Formaldehyde: irritating gas usually in liquid form used as a disinfectant and preservative
    • Benzene – flammable, toxic liquid, used for motor fuel
    • Vinyl chloride – flammable carcinogen, used to make vinyl resins
    • Hydrogen cyanide – poisonous (usually gaseous) compound that smells like bitter almonds
  • Secondhand smoke causes approximately 3,400 lung cancer deaths and 46,000 heart disease deaths in adult nonsmokers in the United States each year
  • The current Surgeon General’s Report concluded that scientific evidence indicates that there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke. Short exposures to second hand smoke can cause blood platelets to become stickier, damage the lining of blood vessels, decrease coronary flow velocity reserves, and reduce heart rate variability, potential increasing the risk of heart attack

These facts are indisputable, and because of this, many cities around the United States have banned smoking in public places. Many college campuses have also banned smoking including Miami University of Ohio. President Hodge passed a smoking ban in 2008.

Sources

*A new browser window will open with this link.
The inclusion of links to other websites does not imply any endorsement of the material on those websites nor any association with their operators.

12/13

Talk to a Nurse: Mon. - Fri., 8:30 a.m. - 4 p.m. (ET)

Call a Heart & Vascular Nurse locally 216.445.9288 or toll-free 866.289.6911.

Schedule an Appointment

Toll-free 800.659.7822

This information is provided by Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition.

© Copyright 2014 Cleveland Clinic. All rights reserved.

HealthHub from Cleveland Clinic

Read the Latest from Our Experts About » cctopics » Heart & Vascular Health
Try These 3 Mediterranean Dishes for Your Holiday Dinner
12/17/14 8:00 a.m.
Imagine a holiday table piled high with beautiful plates of brightly colored vegetables, fish, salads, grains, and fresh fruit. You may not be in the Mediterranean, but the...
by Heart & Vascular Team
Your Heart: 3 Amazing Medical Innovations (Video)
12/15/14 8:06 a.m.
Every year, Cleveland Clinic presents the top 10 medical innovations — the most influential and potential...
5 Things You Should Know About Stress Tests
12/12/14 10:30 a.m.
If your doctor has scheduled you for a stress test, it’s helpful to know a few tips before you step on that tre...
6 Yummy Cookie Recipes That Are Actually Healthy
12/11/14 11:30 a.m.
The holiday season is typically a time we indulge — which includes cookies and sweets. Desserts tend to b...
Have a Health History Heart to Heart
12/10/14 11:00 a.m.
Talking about heart conditions and other health problems may not be ideal family dinner conversation, but it co...