Smoking and heart disease in young people

Smoking is not good for you

Everyone knows that smoking isn't a good idea. And the younger you start, the worse the impact on your body. The ugly facts are right here.

Smokers are almost twice as likely to have a heart attack compared with people who’ve never touched the stuff. Why? In short, smoking damages your heart.

Fags increase the risk of getting heart disease, including having a stroke or a heart attack because they force your heart to work harder than it should have to.

Smoking tobacco in cigarettes, roll ups, a pipe or in any way at all:

  • Damages the lining of your arteries, leading to a build-up of fatty material. This makes them narrower and harder to get blood through.
  • Reduces the amount of oxygen in your blood.
  • Makes your heart beat faster and raises your blood pressure, thanks to the nicotine inside the cigarettes.
  • Causes your blood to clot more easily.

Smoking doesn't make you look great either. Two-thirds of teenagers say smokers are less attractive. Puffing on the 4,000 chemicals in a cigarette:

  • Kills someone every 6.5 seconds
  • Costs the average smoker £28 a week, or £90,000 in a lifetime.
  • Gives you bad breath by drying out your supply of saliva
  • Turns your fingers and teeth yellow and makes your gums more prone to bleeding
  • Gives you early wrinkles and a ‘cat’s bum’ mouth
  • Can make men impotent (unable to maintain an erection) and can reduce fertility in women
  • Increases your chances of getting cancer
  • Increases your chances of getting gangrene and needing foot or leg amputation

The good news is that these effects and the health risks go right down the minute you’ve given up.

5 ways to kick smoking

These are our top ways to kick the smoking habit:

  1. Set a date and stick to it. Most people who give up successfully do so by quitting altogether and not by cutting down.
  2. Keep busy and get active. It’ll help take your mind off the fags and boost your mood.
  3. Think positive. Withdrawal symptoms can be unpleasant but they’re actually a sign that your body is recovering and you’re getting over your addiction.
  4. Get help. Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), such as gum, patches and sprays, are free from your GP for 12 to 18-year-olds.
  5. Celebrate success. Put the money you save from not smoking into a jar and see it grow. Plan a treat for yourself to celebrate your success at quitting.

Useful links to help you quit