Any advice given to an adolescent teen about responsible decision-making regarding alcohol, tobacco, and drugs will depend on who’s giving the advice, their background, and their own views about alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs.
When it comes to tobacco, a person who has suffered bad health issues from using tobacco might offer different advice than a person who’s been able to use tobacco without enduring any of the deleterious side effects.
The former could use their personal story to advise a teen to try their best to stay away from tobacco. If the former has, say, contracted lung cancer or throat cancer due to their smoking habit, they could use themselves as an example of why this hypothetical adolescent teen should follow their advice and steer clear of tobacco.
The latter tobacco user could possess a less dire attitude. They might acknowledge the risks. They could concede that it’s best to stay away from tobacco. Yet since they haven’t had to deal with any formidable consequences like the first person, their advice might have more to do with moderation and mindfulness than swearing off tobacco completely.
Something similar can be said about drugs and alcohol. People who have had damaging experiences with drugs and alcohol could provide more stringent advice than those who have been able to use them with relative impunity.
Overall, when it comes to all three, it seems like the best advice would be to try and encourage the teen to use their brain. They should think about why they’re doing these things and the environment they’re in. If the teen is in a place with people they’re unsure about or don’t know too well, they shouldn’t start drinking or using drugs. However, if this teen is with friends that they trust and feel safe around, then maybe one would advise that, in this scenario, carefully using drugs or alcohol isn’t so irresponsible.
Finally, some might say that the best advice would be to tell the teen to never use tobacco, alcohol, or drugs in the first place. It is, in some cases, illegal, and even in the most mindful environments, it can result in unforeseen consequences. Yet as studies have shown, a large majority of teens will use tobacco, alcohol, or drugs at some point, so such sweeping, prohibitive advice might not be so productive.