Your skin is a bit of a giveaway as to whether you’re a smoker or not. Smoking narrows the blood vessels nourishing your skin and your face ends up with broken thread veins. Years of pursing your lips as you draw on cigarettes creates lines around your mouth and eyes. And yellow discoloration of your fingers, teeth and nails give away that you’re a smoker.
Benefits start when someone quits. Within three days their taste and smell have improved, breathing is easier and they have more energy. Their risk of a blood clot falls within two weeks of stopping smoking. Three months later their circulation’ is improved, and after a year smoking-free, their risk of having a heart attack will have dropped to about half that of a smoker. After ten years, their lung cancer risk will be about half that of an ongoing smoker.
You could double your chances of quitting by using nicotine replacement therapies –they come as patches, lozenges, inhalers or gum. They reduce your cravings with enough nicotine to ease your withdrawal symptoms. Doctors can prescribe these or you can buy them yourself.
What do children themselves think who see their parents or close family members smoke and want them to stop? Here are some personal insights:
- I don’t want my Nana to smoke – she could die.
- People who quit smoking should find other things to do and distract themselves from wanting a cigarette. Fidget spinners might help or doing exercise like in a gym.
- It’s selfish of parents to smoke as their children breathe it in. If a woman who’s pregnant smokes, it damages the baby.
- People spend so much money on cigarettes. When my granddad smoked 40 cigarettes a day he spent £000s on packets of cigarettes each year and he could have spent that money on family holidays instead.
- Smoking damages your lungs and you won’t live as long or be as healthy when you’re older.
- Think how many people die each year from lung cancer who would have lived for many more years if they hadn’t smoked.
- 120,000 people in England die each year from smoking related diseases (so Morgan found within 30 seconds of searching on Google – the data is there!)
- It used to be fashionable to smoke- it’s not now. You won’t have as many friends if you smoke as a teenager – unless they smoke too.
- I hold my breath when I walk past my Mum smoking at home – and go upstairs to get away from the smell.
- Airports shouldn’t sell huge packs of hundreds of cigarettes – it’s bad for business if people who buy them die from smoking and stop flying abroad for holidays!
Adults who smoke need to listen to these messages and use their kids’ insights to motivate them to quit.
Thanks to Morgan (aged 13 years old), Lewis (aged 11 years old) and Poppy (aged 10 years old) who helped their Gran write this article after talking to friends.