Smoking

The Facts

Smoking is not illegal (although you need to be 18 to buy cigarettes) but it can damage your health, as well as that of the people around you. In England you cannot smoke in enclosed public spaces like pubs, restaurants or at school or work.

Cigarettes contain a type of addictive drug called nicotine. Nicotine stimulates the brain, but once it starts to leave your body you get horrible withdrawal symptoms (anxiety, headaches, feeling awful), which are made better by the next cigarette. That’s why people get addicted and find quitting difficult. Cigarettes also contain over 4,000 other chemicals which can cause damage to your body.

Smoking is the single greatest preventable cause of death worldwide. Not only does smoking damage the health of those who smoke, it damages the health of others through second-hand smoke.

About half of all smokers die from a smoking-related disease such as heart disease, respiratory disease or cancer. The younger you are when you start smoking, the more likely it is that you’ll end up smoking for longer, and die early from smoking.

If an increased risk of disease and dying doesn’t put you off, there is also a big price tag attached to smoking. If someone smokes a pack of 20 cigarettes a day for 40 years they will have spent £96,360*!!! For more facts about smoking, click here

*based on 20 cigarettes costing £6.60

 

Is it worth the risk?

Smoking will make your breath smell, as well as giving you smelly clothes and hair. It will also stain your teeth and fingers yellow.

  • Smoking dries out your skin and gives you wrinkles – making you look old.
  • Smoking will make you short of breath, and more likely to cough up phlegm…gross bogey-like stuff. Not very nice!
  • Smoking is addictive. Once you start it can be difficult to stop – meaning you smoke more and more for longer and longer, getting worse and worse effects on your health. The best way to avoid this nasty cycle is to never start.
  • Smoking cigarettes can cause stroke and heart disease in adults. Scarily, the early signs of these conditions can be found in teenagers who smoke. Young people can suffer from other illnesses associated with smoking like gangrene, ulcers and respiratory disease.
  • Smoking lowers your fitness level, and makes you more likely to die early
  • The earlier you start smoking the more likely you are to suffer from a smoking related disease when you are older.

 

The Good News

Many of the risks and consequences of smoking can be reduced by quitting. From 20 minutes after the last cigarette, your body starts to repair the damage done.

If you want to know more about the health problems caused by smoking or want to find out how to give up these websites could help:

ASH
QUIT
NHS

Questions you could ask your doctor or nurse

  • My friends smoke, how can I say no?
  • Am I at any extra risk if I smoke?
  • I already smoke, what can I do to quit?