Smoking: The Myths

We sort out the myths from the facts when it comes to smoking...

Myth: Smoking makes me look cool. Fact: smoking gives you yellow nails, bad breath and the smell of stale smoke on all your clothes. Myth: Only old people get smoking related diseases Fact: you are almost three more likely to suffer from short breath than someone your age that doesn't smoke. Myth: Smoking keeps me slim. Fact: nicotine might suppress your appetite slightly, but the best way to stay a healthy weight is to eat well and exercise. Plus you won't get lots of wrinkles and yellow teeth and nails! Myth: Everyone my age smokes. Fact: smoking among 13-15 year olds is at it's lowest rate since 1982. Myth: I can quit smoking anytime I like. Fact: nicotine is a highly addictive drug. You get used to the rush of nicotine and need more cigarettes to fulfill it. So it's very hard to quit on willpower alone. Myth: Smoking only causes damage to me. Fact: passive smoking leads to a higher risk of getting lung cancer and an increased risk of heart disease which can lead to heart attacks.

Myth: Smoking makes me look cool

Fact: smoking over a long period of time can influence your appearance heavily. Did you know that hair cells can break down because of certain chemicals? As well as that, the toxins in cigarettes age your skin and cause wrinkles that can make you look 10 years older... not exactly attractive.

See what happened to Julia when she tried smoking at a party to fit in:

Myth: Only old people suffer from smoking diseases

Fact: it is true that the most of the diseases suffered by smokers occur after the age of 50 but the earlier you start smoking the more likely you are to suffer from a smoking related disease when you are older.

Myth: Smoking only causes damage to me

Fact: passive smoking (inhaling other peoples smoke) can be fatal over a long period of time. It can cause the same damage as it does when you are actually smoking including lung cancer and other smoking related diseases. That is why smoking is banned in all enclosed public places in Scotland. Find out more about passive smoking.

Myth: I can quit smoking any time I like

Fact: Quitting smoking is not as easy as you think. The nicotine found in cigarettes is highly addictive and areas of the brain are altered through exposure to nicotine leading to a craving for the drug. The earlier you start smoking the more likely you are to become a heavy smoker and find quitting more difficult.

Myth: Everyone my age smokes

Fact: it is easy to assume that most people your age smoke. But a recent survey showed that 97% of 13 year olds are non-smokers and 7% of 15 year olds were regular smokers (defined as usually smoking at least one cigarette a week).

Myth: Smoking keeps me slim

Fact: it's true that the nicotine in cigarettes can suppress your appetite. But if you are smoking to stay slim you will be aging more quickly and getting lots of wrinkles and yellow teeth. If you want to control your weight you can choose healthy, low fat food.

Myth: Smoking shisha tobacco through a hookah is healthier than smoking regular cigarettes.

Fact: shisha tobacco is actually more harmful than regular cigarettes. The smoke contains more arsenic, lead, nickel, tar and carbon monoxide.

Smoking a hookah also needs longer and harder drags so you inhale more of the harmful smoke into your lungs. Sharing mouthpieces can also lead to colds, flu and infections being passed on.

Myth: 'Light' cigarettes are less bad for you.

Fact: People who smoke the lighter cigarettes tend to take longer and deeper drags to try to get the same amount of nicotine. This means that you end up inhaling just as much tar and harmful chemicals. The only way to reduce all these health risks is to stop smoking.

Myth: Smoking roll-ups is a healthier alternative.

Fact: people who use roll-ups inhale higher levels of nicotine and cancer-causing chemicals. Studies also show that smokers of roll-ups tend to be more addicted to nicotine!

Learn more about the smoking on Choices for Life.