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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 section.

 Oh, you smoked a cigarette?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 corte 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.

Want to look older? Smoking will make your skin dull, gray, & wrinkly fasterSmoking & 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?

 Cigarettes Y U Make Me No Able to See at Night? 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?

Wait, What?! Every puff of a cigarette carries poisonous chemicals to all parts of my bodySmoking & 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.

Told you smoking can cause cancer. Didn’t tell you quitting can prevent or reverse damaged DNA that can lead to cancerSmoking & 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.

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