Smoking: The Facts
Written by Emma Burbidge Posted in Health
In the UK it is forbidden to buy or be sold cigarettes until you have reached the age of 18; however figures show that more than 80 per cent of smokers started before the age of 19. Sometimes the pressures of being a teen can be too much, and smoking becomes routine, a necessity as a result of pressure from friends.
If your friends are smoking, then you are more likely to do it for fear of being left out or appearing lame. Although no longer able to smoke in public places, smokers go outside to smoke instead, forming their own little huddles at the exclusion of non-smokers.
Sometimes seeing your older friends smoking, or seeing actors smoke on TV and film can project the image that smoking is ok. However, research shows that smoking is harmful and can cause serious damage to your body.
For starters, there are the ingredients in cigarettes...
- Nicotine, which is also used in pesticides and thickens the heart making it work less effectively
- Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas found in car exhaust fumes
- Formaldehyde is used to preserve dead animals. It causes irritation to the eyes, nose and skin
- Tar is used to surface roads. It stains your teeth making them less attractive-looking
- Arsenic is used in rat poison, and causes damage to the heart.
Doesn’t seem so attractive now, does it?
There is also the cost of smoking. If you smoked 20 cigarettes a day for 50 years, the average cost to you would be a whopping £94,900. Think what you could buy with that!
Then there are the health conditions that smoking can cause, such as heart disease, heart attacks, lung cancer and skin cancer.
Some smokers may tell you that smoking is cool and that it makes them feel more relaxed. But what they don’t tell you is that cigarettes have the same addictive properties as class A drugs. Once you start, you eventually start wanting more, and some people find it really difficult to stop.
I don’t mean to preach but if you don’t want serious health problems later in life, then the best thing is to avoid starting or quit as soon as possible if you have already started.
Smoking affects everyone around you who has to breathe in the second hand smoke. The smell of tobacco also has the tendency to linger and stay on your clothes, following you wherever you go. This could unduly influence employers who might be put off by the stench at interview.
If these facts alone are not enough to deter you, then there are also other things to consider. Smoking damages your skin, causing your hair to look greasier and your skin to appear more wrinkly.
85% of smokers aged 20 or over say they wish they had never started smoking. That’s why it is best not to start smoking in the first place.
If you want to quit smoking, or are trying not to start, then you need to stick to your guns and maintain strong willpower. Quitting or avoiding smoking can be achieved, even if all your friends and family want to continue.
Try to hang out in public places where smoking is not permitted. This will mean physically going outside into the cold to smoke. There are also nicotine patches and services provided by the NHS which can help you keep going. If you want to quit, and have the determination to quit, then you will be able to achieve this.
Our TCHC advisers can help you if you want to quit smoking or if you are surrounded by smokers and are afraid you don’t have the determination to avoid smoking forever.