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.

Age 20

Nobody smokes their first fag 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 – coughing, spluttering and having heart seizures (on average, they’ll have paid £40,000 each 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. 

Age 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 cot death.

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.

How will smoking affect your appearance?

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?

Media last reviewed: 24/09/2013

Next review due: 24/09/2015

Page last reviewed: 12/03/2013

Next review due: 12/03/2015

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