You’ve probably heard that smoking causes cancer, but did you know that the health
consequences go way beyond cancer? Tobacco smoke is a toxic mix of more than 7,000
chemicals and chemical compounds that damage every organ in your body. And smoking
harms your health from the very first puff. Every puff matters.
We’re not going to tell you what to do, but we are going to give you the facts about
how smoking affects your health now, later, and when you quit. Help us spread the
word by sharing our memes with your friends and family. And find out more about
what smoking does to your body in the Health Effects
Smoking & Your Brain
During the teenage years, your brain is in a critical development period. When you
smoke, you can damage your brain by stunting the growth of the prefrontal cortex,
the part of the brain in charge of “executive functions,” like choosing right from
wrong. Smoking as a teen can lead to a more intense nicotine addiction because a
teen brain is more susceptible to nicotine than an adult brain. It develops twice
as many specialized nicotine receptors as an adult's brain. This means that you
are more likely to become a lifelong smoker than somebody who first tries smoking
as an adult.
Smoking & Your Looks
Smoking can take an ugly toll on your body—inside and out. The combination of stress
and smoking can cause your face to breakout and have more zits that last longer.
Smoking can also give you a dirty mouth by staining your teeth yellow and causing
bad breath. Is that the look you’re going for?
Smoking & Your Senses
It doesn’t take a lifetime for smoking to affect your vision, hearing, and sense
of taste and smell—changes are happening right now that may be difficult or impossible
to reverse. For example, as a teen, your sense of hearing is still developing. The
toxic chemicals in smoke can cause permanent damage to these pathways and cause
hearing loss. Also, nicotine restricts the production of a chemical that allows
you to see at night. It’s going take a lot of courage to hit on that hottie at the
party Friday night. Wouldn't it be nice to know what they really look like before
you go to all that work?
Smoking & Your Immune System
Cigarette smoke contains high levels of tar and other chemicals, which can make
your immune system less effective at fighting off infections. This means that you’re
more likely to get sick more often, be sick a lot longer, and take longer to heal
from injuries. When you smoke, the number of white blood cells (a.k.a. the cells
that defend your body against infectious disease and foreign materials) stays high.
This is a sign that your body is under stress—constantly fighting against the inflammation
and damage caused by tobacco. A high white blood cell count is like an SOS from
your body, letting you know that you have been injured. When you quit smoking, your
immune system will become stronger.
Smoking & Your DNA
Every single puff of a cigarette is causing damage to your DNA. Your body is made
up of cells, containing genetic material, or DNA, that act as an “instruction manual”
for cell growth and function. Every single puff of a cigarette causes damage to
DNA. When DNA is damaged, the “instruction manual” gets messed up and the cell can
begin growing out of control and create a cancer tumor. Quitting smoking can prevent
future DNA damage and can help repair the damage that’s already been done.
Find out more about what smoking does to your body in the
Health Effects section.
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Nearly 70 percent of smokers want to quit smoking, but...
If you really want to quit doing something, stop making excuses and do it! Success
means getting your BUT out of the way. So say peace out to your BUT(S) once and
for all by writing your excuse(s) on your index and middle fingers, striking a pose,
snapping a picture, and posting it to our Smokefree Teen Facebook page. Making a public statement
helps hold you and others accountable and increases the likelihood of successfully
quitting. So show us your BUTS!
Really want to make a statement? Make your BUT your profile picture so your friends
and family members can help keep your on track.
*There are a few rules: Smokefree Teen reserves the right to remove photos that
are discriminatory, racist, offensive, obscene, inflammatory, unlawful, or otherwise
objectionable statements, language or content; contain nudity; contain pro-smoking
or pro-tobacco content; or are deemed otherwise inappropriate by NCI.
Do you remember your first time—with cigarettes, that is? Was it love at first puff?
Or did you have a one night smoke and then call it quits? How about now? Still flirting?
Maybe you hook up every once in awhile after school or at parties on the weekends.
Or maybe you and cigarettes have started seeing a lot of each other. Could you be
dating? Do you officially have a cig-nificant other? Breaking up is hard to do (especially
with your cigarettes), but it might be the right thing for you.