Some people smoke a cigarette, cigar, pipe or shisha pipe.
After someone has been smoking for a while they might notice that their health is being affected. They might feel more out of breath when they do exercise or find they get more illnesses like coughs and colds, or their doctor may tell them that smoking is damaging their heart or lungs.
What does smoking do to you?
Smoking damages the heart and blood circulation, making it more likely that someone who smokes regularly will get heart disease, or have a heart attack.
Smoking also damages lungs, which can make it very difficult to breathe. It can cause illnesses like emphysema, bronchitis or pneumonia.
Smoking increases people’s risk of getting cancer, particularly lung cancer but also in many other parts of the body too.
Can’t they just stop?
Lots of people who smoke say they would like to stop. The trouble is, tobacco also contains a drug called nicotine.
When someone smokes, the nicotine goes into their brain and makes them feel relaxed. When they stop smoking, their brain starts to miss the nicotine and after a while they feel that they would really like to smoke again. This is because nicotine is addictive, which means it makes the smoker want to have it again and again. If they don’t smoke then they feel stressed and uncomfortable, and this makes it hard to stop.
Getting help to stop smoking
Luckily, we have a great service that can help people stop smoking if they want to. It’s called the ‘Stop Smoking Service’. If you know someone who wants to stop smoking, they can phone up and ask to see a special advisor who will help them.
Is it best not to start smoking?
Yes – there are lots of other reasons not to start smoking.
- Smoking makes your breath smell, and your clothes and your fingers. Yuck!
- Smoking is really expensive. One packet of cigarettes a day adds up to over £50 a week. Think what you could do with that kind of money!
- Smokers don’t have as much energy for playing games and joining in sport.
- People who smoke have to stand outside public buildings like shops, libraries and restaurants if they want to smoke – even if it is pouring with rain or snowing and all their friends are inside.
- Smoking in the home can harm the health of family and pets.
- Most people don’t smoke and don’t like people smoking near them.
Some people now smoke e-cigarettes instead of tobacco, or use them as a way of giving up smoking.
Scientists agree that e-cigarettes are likely to be much better for your health than smoking tobacco, as they have none of the harmful chemicals in them that damage your health, like tar and carbon monoxide. But e-cigarettes usually contain nicotine, which means they are still addictive, so people may find it difficult to stop using them.