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Smoking: Just The Facts

Tobacco is a plant that has leaves containing nicotine.

Tobacco is usually smoking using the following:

  • Cigarettes/roll-ups
  • Pipes
  • Shisha
  • Cigars

Sometimes people chew tobacco, but whether it’s smoked or chewed, the nicotine in tobacco can be highly addictive, and both chewing and smoking tobacco can cause serious harm.

Regardless of how long you’ve smoked, stopping smoking can improve your health and energy levels. Many effective treatments are available to help make stopping smoking much more comfortable.

Getting the right advice and support to stop really can make all the difference.

The law on tobacco

It’s against the law for a retailer to sell any form of products containing nicotine to anyone under the age of 18.

From 1st October 2015, it became illegal for an adult to purchase any tobacco product or nicotine containing product on behalf of anyone under the age of 18.

It is also illegal for anyone to smoke in a car (or any vehicle) when someone under the age of 18 is present.

What makes smoking harmful?

There are 4,000 chemicals in cigarette smoke – many of them may cause cancers and other horrible diseases. The labelling on tobacco and cigarette packets groups all the 4,000 chemicals into just 3, which are nicotine, tar and carbon monoxide.

  1. Nicotine – this is the addictive chemical in tobacco smoke and other products containing nicotine. If you experiment with products containing nicotine, you can quickly and easily become addicted to the nicotine, and this makes it hard to give up.
  1. Carbon Monoxide – an invisible gas produced from smoking tobacco that has no smell and is normally connected with car exhaust fumes and faulty boilers. It is often called the ‘silent killer’ because it can be so dangerous.

It can:

  • Thicken the blood
  • Push up blood pressure
  • Reduce the space available in the blood cells to carry oxygen around the body

These are some of the reasons why people who smoke often have less energy. Even if you don’t smoke much tobacco, you can still be affected.

  1. Tar – The sticky black substance produced by burning tobacco

It’s in the tar that all the other 3,998 chemicals are lurking. This includes many poisons. The chemicals from the tar go from the lungs into the blood stream and then round to every cell of your body. This causes damage along the way.

It harms your lungs over time, and can also damage the mouth by rotting teeth, damaging gums and making tastebuds stop working properly. The chemicals cause cancers, heart disease and lots of other illnesses.

How to get help

If you have any more questions on this area or would like to speak to somebody about this topic, have a look at the links or search for your local services in the blue box below. Alternatively you can always contact your school nurse.

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