What happens to teen smokers?
September 22, 2016
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?
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.
Effects of smoking at age 20
Nobody smokes their first thinking they’ll be a smoker, but if you’re experimenting it’s easy to become hooked. Most adult smokers start in their teens, and half of them will be killed by their habit (on average, they’ll pay nearly £2,000 a year for the privilege).
Right now, smoking means that you’re becoming unfit, you’re getting tiny wrinkles all round your mouth, and you’re losing lots of cash. If your boyfriend smokes too, sex probably doesn’t feel as good as it could: cigarettes affect his erections and your sensitivity.
Smoking and your looks at 30
Still puffing? Shame. As a smoker you’re now looking older than your years. Your skin, which has been starved of oxygen, is grey and lined. Your teeth are stained and your hair is dull and smelly. If that’s not enough, all the smoke toxins in your body have given you cellulite.
When you want to have kids, things will be trickier for you than for non-smokers: female smokers reduce their fertility and increase their chances of miscarriage, cervical cancer and complications during pregnancy and delivery. Smokers’ babies are also more at risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
Higher risk of lung cancer at 40-plus
The length of time that you’ve smoked is important. If you’ve smoked 20 a day for 40 years, your risk of lung cancer is about eight times more than if you’ve smoked 40 a day for 20 years.
Women who smoke are also more likely to suffer from osteoporosis (brittle bones) than non-smokers, particularly after the menopause.
Find more information on NHS Choices