What happens to teen smokers?
If you start smoking when you’re in your teens, get ready for stained teeth, wrinkly skin and a one-in-two chance of dying early.
A smoker’s tale
Megan is 16 and a smoker. A make-up artist transforms her appearance to demonstrate the effects that smoking will have on her body. Will the results make Megan rethink her habit?
Facts and figures
- Smoking kills about half of all persistent smokers
- Between 1 in 4 and 1 in 5 of all people in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland smoke
- About 14% of deaths from circulatory disease are attributed to smoking
- Smoking stimulates the formation of fatty plaques (known as atheroma) leading to the narrowing of arteries and reduced blood flow. Smoking also depresses the levels of HDL (good) cholesterol in the blood and increases the total cholesterol to HDL ratio (TC:HDL) an indicator of cardiovascular risk. Nicotine and carbon monoxide constrict blood vessels. Nicotine stimulates the blood to produce adrenaline which speeds up the heart rate and makes the heart work harder. Carbon monoxide reduces the amount of oxygen in the blood.
- Globally, smoking causes about 71% of lung cancer, 42% of chronic respiratory disease and nearly 10% of cardiovascular disease.