In This Issue


Kicking Butts!

Teens start smoking for many different reasons. Some think it looks cool. Others start because their family members or friends smoke. If you smoke, this is the time to QUIT.

Smoking is a hard habit to break. Tobacco contains nicotine, which is highly addictive. Like other addictive drugs, the body and mind quickly become used to the nicotine in cigarettes. Then the person feels a need to smoke because their body craves the nicotine just to feel normal. The best thing you can do for good health is to stay away from cigarettes and don’t ever begin smoking.

There are no physical reasons to start smoking. The body doesn't need tobacco. Focus on the good things your body needs like food, water, sleep, and exercise. In fact, many of the chemicals in cigarettes are actually poisons.

Even if you don’t smoke, but your friends do, you are at risk of cancer and other diseases due to exposure to second hand smoke. Even second hand smoke contains toxic chemicals that can cause cancer.

If you smoke you may notice consequences like:

  • Pale unhealthy looking skin
  • Bad breath
  • Bad smelling clothes and hair
  • Poor athletic performance
  • Increased risk of illness

So, do not let peer pressure affect your choice about smoking. Just say “NO.” Avoiding smoking all together will help you look better, smell better, perform better and stay in good health.

For help with quitting call:
TTY 1-800-332-8615

Teens and Shots

Most teens receive (vaccines) shots as a child. But it is important to know that some shots that you received as a child can wear off.

As kids get older, protection from illness is still needed. Teens can also develop risks for more diseases as they get older. As you move into your teen years, be sure to stay up-to-date on pre-teen shots to keep you healthy. Also, diseases like Meningitis and HPV are more common in the teen years.
CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommend that pre-teens get several shots at their 11 or 12-year-old check-up.

  • Tetanus-diphtheria-acellular pertussis vaccine (Tdap)
  • Meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MCV)
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine (for girls). Doctors and parents may choose to vaccinate 11 and 12-year-old boys.
  • Influenza (flu) vaccine (annually from September through January and beyond)

Also, these other shots are extremely important. If you didn’t get the vaccine when you were scheduled, you can still get it. Be sure to ask your doctor if you are up-to–date on these as well.

  • Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR)
  • Chickenpox (Varicella)
  • Polio (IPV)
  • Hepatitis B (HepB)
  • Hepatitis A (HepA)
  • Flu (Influenza)
  • Pneumococcal

These shots prevent serious, sometimes life-threatening diseases.  In your teen years, you may need a second dose of a vaccine to safeguard your health.   So tell your parents to make sure you are vaccinated against serious illnesses, because it could save your life and your friend’s life too! Be sure to keep a vaccine record. This record will help you and your health care provider ensure that you are protected against vaccine-preventable diseases. Ask your provider for this record, and be sure to take it with you every time you visit your provider so that it can be reviewed and updated.

For more information on shots, ask your healthcare provider or call 800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636)


IN YOUR FACE: Battling Teen Acne

Skin conditions in the teen years are not uncommon for both girls and boys. Often times, teens may even be embarrassed when it occurs. But, remember there is treatment for acne. Acne occurs when the skin pores become plugged. Plugged pores become pimples or zits. The exact cause of acne is not known. However, changes in hormone levels are a normal part of puberty, a factor in acne development. It is also more common if your parents had acne. Chocolate and dirty skin have been blamed for skin breakouts. But, nothing really shows that to be true.

So, if you develop acne, there are things that can make it worse.

  • Oil from cosmetics
  • Pollution
  • Squeezing the skin blemish
  • Hard scrubbing of the skin
  • Be prepared for possible acne breakouts before or during your menstrual cycle
  • Not controlling stress when you begin to notice it happening
Finally, there are ways to care for your skin if you develop acne. Clean Skin Gently Avoid Frequent Handling of the Skin Shave Carefully Avoid a Sunburn or Suntan Choose Cosmetics Carefully

Resource: /

Using Tobacco Hurts Your Teeth

Mark Twain once said, “Quitting smoking is easy.  I’ve done it a thousand times.”  Do you smoke?  If you don’t, you probably know someone who does.  Teens today are becoming addicted to tobacco and the results show in their mouths!  Every day more that 3,000 teens start using tobacco. 

Tobacco in all forms hurts your health and causes dental problems. Smoking or using smokeless “chewing” tobacco can make you four times more likely of developing oral cancer.  Oral cancer is described as a “quick killer” by most doctors; one of every six deaths in the United States is caused by tobacco use. 

You know that sugar causes tooth decay.  But did you know that most brands of smokeless “chewing” tobacco are more than one-fifth sugar?  Using tobacco increases your risk of oral cancer, gum disease, cavities and hot/cold sensitivity. 

Tobacco is very harmful for teens because your body is still growing and changing.  The 200 known poisons in smoke affect how you grow and can cause diseases.

Did you know that tobacco causes?

  • Cavities
  • Bone Loss
  • Bad Breath
  • Mouth Sores
  • Hairy Tongue
  • Shrinking  & Bleeding Gums
  • Loss of Taste and Smell

If you are not using tobacco don’t start!  If you are using tobacco ask for help!  The reasons for quitting are simple:  You’ll lower your chances of having a heart attack, stroke or cancer.  A tobacco free environment is healthier for you and those around you.  And, the money you spent on tobacco can be used for other things.

If you have TennCare you have TENNderCARE (EPSDT) dental services until you become 21 years old.  These services include FREE regular 6 month check ups!

If you have TennCare call DentaQuest Customer Service at 1-888-233-5935
Or visit our website at

  • For questions or help finding a dentist
  • For free help with interpretation and translation
  • For a ride to the dentist

Fitting into Fatherhood

For every teenage mother, there is a father. Teen pregnancy issues generally focus on the girl. But it takes two to make a baby.

Remember that being a parent is a teen’s choice and there are methods of prevention to delay parenthood. All too often when the pregnancy is announced, there is more focus on the girl and less focus on the guy. Once it is determined that you are the father, you will have new demands on your time.

Being a teen father can be difficult. The greatest challenge you may face will be learning to care for your child while you also take care of yourself. Learning how to properly care for a baby can be overwhelming at times. Being a teen father means being responsible for the physical and mental well being of a child. Bonding opportunities come in many ways, even small ones such as bathing, feeding, reading and playing with your child. Teen fatherhood should be taken seriously. It is a life long commitment. However, connecting with and caring for your child should be your number one goal.

As you learn to care for your child, remember that ultimately, what your child needs most is YOU.



Mike the Myth Slayer

Myth: It’s easy to quit smoking. I can quit whenever I want.

Fact: Most smokers find it very difficult to quit. Nicotine, the drug in tobacco that gives smokers a “buzz,” is highly addictive. It often takes smokers many tries to kick the habit for good.

The younger you are when you start smoking, the harder it is to quit. People who start smoking before the age of 21 have the hardest time quitting. And 30 percent of young people who smoke will never quit, and will die early from a smoking-related disease.

It’s a lot easier to not start smoking than it is to quit. If you don’t smoke, keep it up! If you smoke, quit. There are lots of resources that can help you kick the habit, so you can have a healthier future.

 Sources: National Institutes of Health –; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention –

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