What is smoking?
Smoking tobacco is a habit practiced by more than 4 million teenagers. Smoking causes serious health problems and kills almost 400,000 people each year. It's very addictive and most people find it very difficult to stop. More than 90% of adult smokers started when they were teenagers. back to top
Why do teens smoke?
Most teens start smoking because they think it makes them look more like adults. Many teens want to defy the authority of their parents or other adults. They're usually told not to smoke, so they might feel like they're acting independent if they do it anyway. Most teens find smoking unpleasant at first. The smoke often irritates the nose and mouth and makes them nauseated and dizzy. You really have to make an effort if you want to get used to smoking. And if you do, it won't take very long to become addicted. back to top
What happens to my body if I smoke?
The biggest effect of smoking is on your lungs
. Tobacco smoke contains many different chemicals that irritate the lining of your lungs. The long-term consequences of smoking include lung cancer and emphysema
Smoking causes damage even in the short term. It will affect your ability to play sports because you'll get short of breath sooner and have less stamina
. If you haven't finished growing, smoking may limit your height. back to top
What are the other side effects of smoking?
The short-term side effects of smoking include bad breath and stained teeth and fingers. Smoking can also interfere with a guy's ability to have an erection
There are other long-term effects besides lung diseases. Smoking also causes cancer of the mouth, larynx
, and bladder
. In females, smoking increases the chances of getting cancer of the cervix
. Smoking greatly increases the chances of heart disease and stroke. Smoking during pregnancy
can lead to miscarriage
, low birth weight, and sudden infant death syndrome
Another side effect is financial. Smoking is an expensive habitit can quickly cost $20 a week. That's more than $1,000 a year up in smoke. back to top
Why do people get addicted to smoking?
Tobacco smoke contains a chemical called nicotine
. Nicotine is absorbed by the lungs and transported to the brain. Many smokers feel that nicotine helps them concentrate. But actually, nicotine hurts them much more than it helps them, because it is very addictive. Once you are addicted and you stop smoking, you'll get a number of unpleasant symptoms when you stop taking nicotine into your body. These symptoms include:
- upset stomach
These symptoms are not fun, which makes it very hard to quit smoking. back to top
How do I stop smoking?
It's not easy to stop smoking once you've started. Some people can quit "cold turkey" (stop abruptly), but most people need some help. You can ask your health professional about using a nicotine substitute
while you're trying to quit. A nicotine substitute, such as nicotine gum
or a nicotine patch
, keeps you from feeling sick from nicotine withdrawal. Once you have kicked the smoking habit, you can gradually decrease the amount of nicotine substitute without getting any symptoms at all.
If you can quit smoking, you'll notice benefits within a few days. Within 24 hours your lungs will start to repair the damage caused by smoking. Soon you'll notice that you have more stamina and can do more without getting short of breath. back to top