Norfolk In-care Council (NICC) ©2019 Norfolk County Council


By law, no one can buy cigarettes until they are 18 and if a shopkeeper sells them to you, they could face prosecution. It is also well known that smoking can seriously damage your health, especially your lungs and your heart. Most people who smoke wish they had never started, but are addicted and find it very difficult to give up even though they know it is doing them harm. Sadly, a lot of children and young people smoke, often believing that it makes them seem tough or grown up.

  • More than 80% of all adult smokers started in their teens.
  • 450 children start smoking every day in the UK.
  • Smoking two high tar cigarettes in a short period of time reduces blood flow through the penis by a third. Studies suggest that up to 120,000 men have already made themselves impotent through smoking.
  • 50% of all regular long-term smokers will be killed by their habit
  • In one decade, a 20-a-day smoker will blow over twenty thousand pounds on cigarettes.
  • Approximately 1 tree in 25 cut down in the world are burnt to cure tobacco and make it ready for smoking.
  • Nearly 500 million people alive today will eventually die from smoking-related diseases.
  • One puff on a cigarette delivers over 4,000 different chemicals into your body. Many are known to cause cancer.
  • All around the world, 6,000,000,000,000 cigarettes are smoked each year.
  • Smoking is the number one cause of preventable deaths in the UK. More than 120,000 people die each year from smoke-related diseases.

There is still an argument about whether nicotine (one of the drugs in cigarettes and has a stimulating effect on the body, e.g. it makes you feel good) should be classed as an addictive substance, but some smokers claim it is easy is to get mentally hooked on the habit as it is possible to become psychologically dependent on anything you do on a regular basis to change your mood, e.g. you light up because you think you can't start something without having a ciggie first. Also you can consume nicotine at the same time as doing something else, which makes a habit easier to develop.

Some smokers say they light up because smoking helps keep them calm and relieves stress. But they probably don't realise that the nicotine is stimulating them and distracting them, so they then don't realise the negative effects that smoking has on their body.

Nicotine also keeps your appetite lower than usual, so this maybe why some people say they smoke to lose weight. And, although some smokers put on weight when they quit, it's usually because they eat as a substitute for smoking, e.g. they start eating biscuits or crisps to distract them from thinking about having a cigarette

Peer pressure is also a major factor in why people start smoking. If your friends smoke, then they might encourage you to do so. But, the fact is, they're probably only smoking because they saw someone else doing it - maybe an authority figure, or someone they fancied. Surveys say that many young people smoke because it's thought to be an act of rebellion or the 'coolness' factor. But just think about how "cool" it is to have tar coated lungs, a hacking cough (especially if you're getting up close and personal with a girlfriend or boyfriend - not to mention the ashtray breath...) or, if it comes to it, lung cancer, tumours throughout your body or ending up breathing through a hole in your neck. Oops, was that a little too depressing? Sorry, but those are the facts. Another fact is, is that if you're confident with yourself and the image you give out to your friends, then you shouldn't feel the need to light up to stay 'in' with them. Try and be different!

Why do people smoke?

If you want more information, then you can check out these sites for help and advice.