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Smoking and its effects - info for kids

smoking; cigarettes; tobacco; addiction; addictive; nicotine; chemicals; disease; smoke. ;


Why people start to smoke

Most smokers start smoking when they are teenagers.

In the 'olden days' when your parents and grandparents were teenagers, people started smoking because:

  • smokingtheir friends smoked.
  • they thought smoking was the 'grown up' thing to do.
  • their heroes smoked, including many sports stars.
  • tobacco advertising in films, magazines, TV, sports and posters showed smoking as being cool, sexy, smart, tough and the adult thing to do.
  • smoking was allowed in public places everywhere.
  • people could buy cigarettes in smaller packets of 5 or 10 .
  • most people didn't know that smoking was bad for their health and for the health of people who were around smokers.

Why people continue smoking

People who continue smoking give different reasons for smoking.

  • "It keeps me alert when I have a lot of work to do."
  • "It helps me to concentrate."
  • "It keeps me calm when I am under pressure."
  • "It makes me feel relaxed."

As soon as people become regular smokers they become addicted to the nicotine in the cigarettes which makes them want to continue smoking.

There are many different chemicals in cigarette smoke some of which are poisonous and some can cause cancer.

Some of these chemicals affect the brain making the person feel alert or calm - in other words changing the person's mood.

The more people smoke, the more they feel the need to smoke.

The bad news for smokers

People who smoke have to put up with a lot of bad things to continue their smoking.

  • Their hair, clothes and breath smell of stale smoke.
  • Teeth and fingers go yellow.
  • allergySkin looks unhealthy and grey.
  • Their sense of smell and taste are affected.
  • They are ten times more likely to get heart disease, lung disease, and have a major heart attack or stroke.
  • In many countries laws have been made so that there are few places left where they can smoke in public.
  • It is now illegal in South Australia for people to smoke in cars if there are children in the car too. Smoking is banned within 10 metres of children's public playgrounds. Smoking is also banned in any public transport or taxi shelter, and in all public indoor and outdoor eating places. There is a fine of $75 to $200. Open air places like the Zoo and sports arenas are now smoke free and many Councils have made many public places smoke free.
  • People have been educated to know the dangers of smoking and passive smoking (when you don't smoke but you are breathing someone else's smoke).
  • Cigarettes cost a lot of money which could be used for other healthier things.
  • Cigarette butts take up to 5 years to breakdown and they pollute the environment.

The good news for smokers who quit!

smokingIn only a short time after quitting smoking:

  • taste and smell improves
  • skin improves
  • fitness improves
  • lungs begin to repair themselves and start getting rid of all the gunk that has been clogging them up
  • they have lots more money
  • they can stay inside with their friends and family instead of being outside, alone, smoking

Drs Kim and Kate say:

Dr Kate and Dr Kim
"Giving up smoking is not easy for the smoker or their family and friends. Nowadays everyone knows that smoking is bad for health so look after your body and if you never start smoking you will never have to know how hard it is to stop."





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We've provided this information to help you to understand important things about staying healthy and happy. However, if you feel sick or unhappy, it is important to tell your mum or dad, a teacher or another grown-up.


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