What Happens To You When You Pick Up That Cigarette?

There are millions of teenagers who take up smoking every year. It is very unfortunate but many begin their smoking addiction due to peer pressure, because their parents smoke, because they want to look "cool". But do you really know what you are doing to your body?

  • One cigarette contains over 500 different chemicals. Each one contributes to the massive list of diseases which smokers can be at risk of developing.
  • Because you inhale smoke into your lungs, they are the organs which are at risk the most even though smoking can also be linked to diseases of the throat, eyes, heart, digestive organs, bones, joints and skin.
  • Nicotine is the addictive drug contained in cigarettes. It reaches the brain within 10 seconds of inhaling, stimulating both the brain and nervous system. A VERY addicted smoker is a person who feels as if their body needs a regular supply of nicotine to function properly.
  • Another major part of cigarettes is tar. Tar will damage your mouth, throat and lungs. It can cause lung cancer, emphysema and bronchitis type diseases.
  • The filter at the top of the cigarette was originally designed to reduce the amount of harmful substances (like tar) from entering your body. But many cigarette manufacturers put extra nicotine in the filter to increase addiction.
  • Cigarette smoke causes breathing problems for up to 80% of asthmatics. They don't necessarily have to be smoking the cigarette to experience them. Second hand smoking is also putting more people at risk of diseases and so if you are going to smoke, think of those around you too.
  • It is illegal to sell cigarettes to someone under 16 in the UK and under 18 in the USA and under 19 in Canada.

The average smoker smokes about 10-20 cigarettes a day. Think about that on a larger scale...

ONE DAY 10 cigarettes
ONE YEAR 3,360
ONE LIFETIME 235,200 (assuming you live for 70 years)

Scary isn't it? I hope you don't take the risk.

To Smoke Or Not To Smoke?

I'm not writing this to judge you. I'm writing this to give you the facts. What smoking can in fact cost you. I'm not saying, "do not smoke", I'm saying, "Before you do smoke, know what it might cost you in the long run." So before you light up, take the time to read this.

Cigarettes, smokes, fags. They make you look cool don't they? In this day and age, it's becoming a growing trend to be seen having something hanging out of your mouth. It's "cool" to stink of cigarette smoke and to have bad breath. It's cool to have yellow teeth, yellow nails, and yellow fingers. It's cool to look like you're 55 by the time you're 40. If smoking is "cool" then what it does to you is cool too, right? These things will happen, if you smoke for long enough. What seems to do no damage now, won't always be like that. If you're smoking or thinking about smoking to improve your "image", then consider whether yellow teeth, yellow nails, bad breath, constantly smelling of cigarettes and pre-aging is going to help too.

You see movie stars smoking while shopping, at award ceremonies, and even in films. People will always want to copy those more famous than themselves. I think that the best thing you could do in this situation is to ask yourself this question: "Where will they be in thirty years time?" In thirty years time, is it going to be important who it was that you copied when you were in your teens? In thirty years time, is it going to matter whether your friends thought you were "cool"?

"My friends do it"; peer pressure. I'm sure everyone has experienced it at one point in their lives. Some of us may have fallen under it; some of us may have stood firm. In reality, it's up to you. Are you going to let your friends dictate your life or your future? A simple "no" is all it takes to not let them. Afraid they will fall out with you? Then you need to ask yourself what sort of friends they are. Any true friend would respect your decision and not push you into doing something you don't want to.

Saving up for a new pair of sneakers? Seen a jacket that you like? If you start smoking, you're going to have a considerable amount less to spend on things you enjoy buying. Can you afford to start smoking? One pack a week at $5 (USD) will soon increase and eventually you may find yourself spending everything you earn on cigarettes. If that's the case, you can forget those sneakers. You can forget that jacket.

Everyone has heard that smoking can cause cancer. It's something that people now associate with smoking. I didn't want to go through this again, as most people already know. I want to make clear the extensive risk to your health through smoking. If you smoke for a lifetime, there is a 50% chance that your death will be related to smoking, and half of all these deaths will be when the person is middle aged. A list of diseases smoking causes or contributes to could easily be several pages long.

Are you pregnant? Smoking and pregnancy do not mix. During pregnancy smoking can seriously affect the unborn child. The child can be born underweight and has a greater risk of contracting illnesses. Smoking during pregnancy also vastly increases the risk of a miscarriage and stillbirths.

As I have said, I am not here to judge you. I wrote this, as I would not wish the consequences of smoking onto anyone or anyone's family. When it comes down to it, whether you light up or not is your choice and your choice only. Just ask yourself one question, "is it worth it?"

It Started With Only A Couple A Day.

Most of us enjoy trying new things, taking chances, and risking various things. Two summers ago I flew to Europe where I spent a month without my parents. Living with my cousin, I began hanging out with her friends every night. It was during this month that I first started smoking cigarettes. I didn't care, it was fun, and I would be able to quit upon my return to the United States. Allow me to stop and point out that my Dad had 'cheated death' when I was about 6 years old, an experience brought about by many decades of smoking. He immediately quit after that. Additionally, my Mom's father died of lung cancer.

I returned to the United States, and kept smoking for a couple of weeks. Once my Mom began suspecting things, I immediately stopped and it wasn't terribly hard. A year and a half passed before I picked up another cigarette. "I quit once, I can do it again. It's just social this time!" I figured. Well I started again with only a couple a day, and just with friends. I progressed to about half a pack a day, and finally ended up at about a pack a day; give or take. Sometimes it would be a few more than the day before, sometimes a few less; regardless, I began sensing that it was too much. One day, my Dad noticed the smell as I got into the car and, just like that, I was caught. I then realized it's time to stop, so I figured okay, no more. I cut down to about 10 a day for about a week. This didn't last long as I just couldn't cut down any less. This was a few months ago and I still currently smoke. As I see more and more of my friends start smoking, I realize that I was of the same type, an arrogant naive boy. I thought I wasn't going to smoke a lot, and I had many excuses to believe so. I no longer enjoy smoking now and I wish it was easier to stop and give it up as it was as easy to start.

The point is, many of us will manage to keep their smoking on a social level however this is not the case with most people. Before you pick up that cigarette, do yourself a favor and just think about whether or not you REALLY want to be dependent on these things. I know that I thought about all the consequences, including an early death, yet I did not care. In fact, the idea that I might die early if I don't quit still doesn't bother me. It is the fact that I am dependent on such a pointless substance which really bothers me. You begin finding yourself in positions where you want to go outside and have a cigarette but cannot because of your parents or location.

Marijuana, a (usually) illegal substance, which does NOT commonly cause death and is NOT physically addicting is more beneficial than picking up a (cigarette) smoking habit. If something less severe such as marijuana is illegal, why is the number one cause of cancer in the United States legal?

Do yourself a favor, if you want to "be cool" or find a "social habit," there are other options to consider. Perhaps take up coffee, it's not as bad as people say! Looking forward to burning 500 chemicals and a few plants rolled up in a piece of paper attached to a cotton cylinder should NOT be the highlight of your day; actually, anywhere between 5-20 times a day for that matter.