5 good things about quitting smoking:
- you're much less likely to get a serious disease or illness
- you'll save lots of money
- your teeth won’t get stained and your breath won’t smell bad
- you'll feel less stressed out
- you'll be better at exercising.
There can be lots of pressure from friends and people around you to smoke. It might seem like everyone does it.
But smoking is highly addictive and can cause serious health problems, including cancer. Once you start, it can be really hard to stop.
Nicotine (which is found in cigarettes) has been linked to anxiety, so it isn't a harmless drug, and being addicted is often stressful and expensive.
5 good things about quitting smoking:
There are lots of different ways you can help yourself quit smoking.
Some people find that gradually reducing how much they smoke over time is enough. But if you do this, you've got to stick to it. And if you're addicted that can be hard.
Visiting your doctor can help you decide the best way to stop smoking. If you don’t want anyone else to know you smoke, you can ask them to keep it confidential.
You must be over 18 to buy cigarettes in the UK. If you’re under 16 the police have the right to confiscate your cigarettes.
Cannabis is a drug. It's sometimes known as weed, hash, skunk, pot, ganja, marijuana or puff.
People often smoke cannabis to feel like they fit in. However, cannabis can also make people who smoke it feel relaxed and happy.
If you smoke cannabis you might feel chilled out, giggly, light-headed, talkative or relaxed.
Cannabis also has side effects. It can cause people to feel panicky, paranoid and anxious.
Smoking cannabis can still cause lots of health risks just like cigarettes. If you have mental health problems it can make these worse.
It's illegal to possess, grow, distribute or sell cannabis in the UK. For more info check out Talk to Frank.
Starting to smoke when you’re young can lead to a habit that will last your whole life. It can be extremely difficult to stop. Tobacco contains nicotine, which is highly addictive. Nicotine works just like addictive drugs such as heroin. It makes the body and mind become used to having it. You start to need nicotine in order to feel normal.
Smoking is also expensive. You might find yourself spending all your spare money on cigarettes or tobacco. If you quit you'll probably find you have a lot more money to spend on other things.
The health risks caused by smoking:
If you hang around people who smoke, even if you aren’t the one smoking, this can also cause health problems. You will breathe in their smoke, even if you don't realise it. This is known as passive smoking.
The things you'll notice if you smoke:
It can be really hard to stand up to peer pressure and say no to your friends. Being pressured to do something you don’t want to do can make you feel anxious and lonely. You could try to practise being assertive, and if you’re feeling bad about it a lot, you could think about asking an adult for help.
You can also talk to Childline for support at any time. We'll always listen, we won't judge you, and we’ll keep what you say confidential.
If you know someone who smokes and you want to help them quit, talk to them about it. It could be a friend or someone in your family. Whoever it is, it’s good to talk to them. But try not to force them to quit because they might react badly.
It can be difficult to help a friend, especially if they don't see their smoking as a problem. They need to make the decision to stop smoking themselves. If you tell them the reasons why you want them to stop, it might help them take the first steps towards quitting.
You can always talk to a counsellor if you want to talk through your worries about someone's smoking. You could also see what other young people in similar situations are saying on our message boards.
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Other helpful sites:
NHS Livewell has a guide to quitting smoking for young people
Talk to Frank offers friendly, confidential advice on drugs
The Mix provides real life stories and advice about quitting smoking.
ASH (Action on Smoking and Health) for a list of smoking helplines in the UK, including helplines in other languages.