WHERE THERE’S SMOKE…
…there’s killer side effects to your health (and your wallet). Keep these things in mind before you take a puff.
No doubt you’ve been at a party or hanging with a group of friends and someone has offered you a drag of their ciggie. If you were completely repulsed by it and said “Ew, no!”, then *slow clap* for you. But not everyone has this kind of willpower, especially when there’s pressure from friends or they think having a smoke looks cool or badass. Maybe you’ve had lots of these little puffs and are smoking on the regular now, which probably seems harmless because you’re young and ~blessed~ with healthy lungs – but it’s like those gross ads on TV say: every durry is doing you damage.
Think one cheeky cig can’t hurt? You’re waaay off base. When you smoke just one cigarette, you’re inhaling toxic gases including ammonia, formaldehyde and carbon monoxide. Any of these sound familiar? Ammonia is a chemical used to clean toilets, formaldehyde is used to preserve dead bodies, and carbon monoxide is what comes out of car exhaust systems. Yuck! You’re also inhaling nicotine, which raises your blood pressure and heart rate and also releases a feel-good hormone called dopamine – that’s what makes smoking so addictive. And the effects don’t let up. Even up to eight hours after you flick the cigarette butt into the bin, 4000 different chemicals are still attacking your body and affecting the performance of your vital organs.
ONE WEEK OF SMOKING
Addiction starts to set in after smoking for just seven days. Thanks to those rising and falling dopamine levels, you’ll start craving another hit. And guess what? Girls are more likely to become addicted than boys. Oh, yay. Even at a young age and smoking just the occasional dart over a seven-day period, you’ve already increased your risk of developing cancer and heart disease in the future. Also, that guy you’ve been smiling at in English class? He’ll be able to smell the smoke on your clothes, hair, breath and skin (no matter how much deodorant you coat yourself in!). Not hot.
ONE MONTH OF SMOKING
Now your lungs are really copping it. Smoking affects your immune system, so it’s easier to contract coughs and colds. It also inflames the lining of your lungs, increasing the risk of chronic respiratory diseases like bronchitis and emphysema. In other words, imagine having a disgusting, phlegm-filled cough and feeling like crap ALL THE TIME. Not only are you leaving yourself open to developing these illnesses, you’re also increasing your risk of lung cancer. Unsurprisingly, up to 90 per cent of lung cancer cases are caused by smoking. Cigarettes can also make your periods worse (as if we needed help with that!). A US study has shown that women who start smoking before the age of 15 are two-and-a-half times more likely to develop the dreaded symptoms of PMS, plus bloating and aches. On a vain note, after a month on the durries you’ll also notice your fingers starting to turn yellow and you might also get yellowish-brown stains on your teeth. So not only will your body be suffering, your selfie game will be too.
ONE YEAR OF SMOKING
By now you are well and truly addicted, and the longer you smoke, the harder it is to quit. Maybe these gross little factoids will help push you in the right direction: After a year of smoking, you could start to have some mouth probz including tooth decay and permanently stinky breath – plus it affects your tastebuds, so food won’t taste as delicious. Smoking can affect your vision by clouding your eye lenses, which in some smokers has led to blindness. (Imagine never seeing Dylan O’brien’s glorious dimples ever again!) Not sleeping well? Getting bad headaches and backaches? You can thank smoking for that! You’re also probably feeling the effects of it on your fitness levels, when even a run around the block leaves you feeling short of breath. When you smoke, you also endanger your cardiovascular health, which can have devastating long-term effects. Smoking causes lipids (harmful fats) to stick to the walls of your blood vessels, which impairs your blood circulation and increases your risk of heart disease and stroke.