Body Fizzeek

Smoking

Everyone Else Is Doing It?

Many teens start smoking because they have Parents, friends or older siblings who smoke. Some teens look at smoking as a way to get through parties, dates, or other difficult social situations.

Smoking gives them something to do with their hands and makes them feel older or more sophisticated.

Some teens smoke because they feel they look too young and that smoking may make them appear more like an adult, some teens (especially girls) think smoking is a way to keep their weight under control.

Others believe that a cigarette helps them relax when they're stressed out because of schoolwork, dating problems, or family pressures, teens often start smoking because one or both parents smoke or because another close relative is a smoker, they get the message that smoking is an acceptable habit, others smoke because it isn't acceptable in their families.

Teens may think that smoking shows that they are old enough to make their own decisions.

It's Not Easy to Kick Butt ?

No matter what age people start smoking and nearly 90% of adult smokers start while they are still teens they never intend to get hooked, they may start by bumming a cigarette or two from a friend at a party, and then go on to buying an occasional pack, soon they realize that they can't go without that first cigarette first thing in the morning, after meals, or during any stressful time. They are addicted, both physically and psychologically.

It's not easy to stop smoking even if you want to. According to many experts, the nicotine in tobacco is more addictive than cocaine, heroin, or opium.

One survey of school students who were daily smokers showed that only 5% of them intended to be smoking in 5 years. But after 5 years 75% of them were still smoking. Smokers are also more likely to abuse other substances, such as alcohol and marijuana.

Think you can reduce these risks by smoking cigars? Cigars have four times as much nicotine as cigarettes. Although cigar smokers may think they're not inhaling, the smoke does get into their lungs. The addictive nicotine gets absorbed through the surfaces in their mouth. Smokeless tobacco, which is equally addictive and can cause mouth and throat cancer, is also not a good solution.

Is This Attractive?

Even if becoming addicted doesn't bother you, the side effects of smoking may. For instance, smokers stink. Literally. The smell of tobacco lingers for a long time on your hair, your clothes, and your breath. Sniff a dirty ashtray to see what a smoker smells like to non-smokers.

Smoking is expensive?

Think of all the CDs, movies, and clothes you could buy with 1,500 pounds each year. That's about 100 CDs if you are spending 15.00 pounds a CD! That's what's going up in smoke if you're buying just one pack of cigarettes a day at 4.25 a pack. (And they're much more expensive than that in many places.) Smokers don't look good - not at all like the attractive people you see in ads. Their teeth become yellow, and it's hard to get the stains removed. Smokers also get many more wrinkles than non-smokers. In fact, each cigarette contains thousands of chemicals that are harmful to the body. Some of the really appealing ones include:

  • Cyanide ?
  • Benzene ?
  • Formaldehyde ?
  • Methanol (wood alcohol) ?
  • Acetylene ?
  • Ammonia ?

Sports are an important part of many teens' lives. Smokers find it hard to compete because of the physical effects of smoking: rapid heartbeat, decreased circulation, and shortness of breath. Smokers are also more likely to miss a big game because they get more colds, flu, bronchitis, and pneumonia.

It's often difficult to think several years ahead (adults have trouble doing it, too). The reality is that each time you smoke a cigarette; it is costing you 5 to 20 minutes of your life. It puts you at much greater risk for heart disease, cancer, and emphysema. "In fact, one out of every three smokers will die a smoking-related death - losing about 14 years of her life," says Neil Izenberg, MD.

Recent studies have also shown that teen guys who smoke 2 packs a day could experience erectile dysfunction or impotence by the time they turn 30.

Staying - or Becoming - Smoke-Free : If you've made the decision to avoid smoking, it may help you to have an excuse ready for the times you're feeling the pressure. If a friend offers you a cigarette, you don't have to argue - you can simply say something like "I just don't like it," or "I want to stay in shape for soccer" (or football or basketball or whatever).

Don't feel alone. In spite of what the tobacco companies would like you to believe, only about 28% of school student's smoke. That means about three out of every four don't smoke. Everyone doesn't do it.

You can also have some fun reading between the lines of cigarette advertising. Take a look at how unrealistic the ads are. Are those climbers likely to be climbing a mountain with cigarettes in their backpacks? How long will that woman have beautiful skin and gorgeous teeth if she keeps smoking? The more you think about it, the more ridiculous it is - and the less likely you are to be manipulated by these images. Even the original Marlboro Man - the handsome cowboy with the cigarette - died a real-life awful death from lung cancer.

If you're already a smoker and you want to stop, there is hope. Quitting is tough, but not impossible. Think about all the reasons you want to quit, and try to stay focused on them (such as better performance in sports or saving up for a car). Seek support from your family and your friends. Find a quitting buddy who's willing to support you when the cravings get strong. A friend or family member who has successfully quit may be able to provide extra support and understanding.

Find a new activity - something that will fill the time (and your hands) during the times that you used to smoke a cigarette. Exercise is a good choice, and it also helps you avoid weight gain.

For some people, quitting cold turkey is best. Others find that a slower approach works for them. You may want to consider getting nicotine gum or a nicotine patch that helps you to gradually cut down on the nicotine in your system. You can also look for support groups for teens, which are sometimes sponsored by local hospitals or organizations like the British Cancer Society.

Finally, don't get discouraged. When it gets tough, try to remember that being a nonsmoker will give you a whole lot more - more energy, more money in your pocket, and in the long run, more life to live while being healthy.

Quitting makes a huge difference to you & your family. Find out how at Smokefree


 

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