Published: 1 November 2022 | Updated: 5 April 2023


Starting to smoke when you are young can lead to a habit that could be hard to stop.

The reason it can be difficult to stop is because tobacco contains nicotine, which is highly addictive.

Nicotine works just like any addictive drug, the body and mind become used to having it. You may feel like you need nicotine to feel normal.

Smoking also creates patterns of behaviour and habits. This can be a huge barrier to your plans to stop or reduce your smoking consumption as creating new habits can be hard.

Smoking is also expensive. You may spend all your spare money on cigarettes or tobacco. If you stop or reduce you will find you have more money to spend on other things.

Some health risks caused by smoking

  • Cancer, 90% of lung cancer is caused by smoking.
  • Emphysema, a type of lung disease where the tissue in your lungs breaks down.
  • Heart disease.
  • Asthma, and if you already have it, smoking usually makes it worse.
  • Not being able to get or sustain an erection (sometimes called impotence).
  • Increased stress when you are addicted, and you have not had a cigarette.
  • If you hang around people who smoke, even if you are not the one smoking, this can also cause health issues. You will breathe in their smoke, even if you do not realise it. This is known as passive smoking.

Things you may notice if you smoke

  • Your clothes, hair and skin smell of smoke.
  • Your fingers get stained yellow.
  • Your teeth maybe stained, and smoking can cause them to rot if they are not looked after.
  • Your breath will smell.
  • Your skin maybe dry and you may break out in spots, when you smoke it restricts your blood vessels, so nutrients do not get to your skin.
  • Smoking can damage fertility (the ability to have children).
  • You can start to cough a lot.
  • You become out of breath more easily.
  • Your sense of taste will change over time.

If you’re feeling pressured to smoke

  • It can be hard to stand up to peer pressure and say no to your friends.
  • Being pressured to do something you do not want to do can make you feel anxious and lonely.
  • If you are being pressured, you could think about asking an adult for help.

Reasons to stop smoking

  • You will be healthier and less out of breath as smoking decreases your lung capacity.
  • You will save a lot of money.
  • You will look better. Chemicals in cigarettes restrict blood flow to your skin. Smokers have more wrinkles by the time they are in their mid 20s.
  • Someone who starts smoking at 15 is three times more likely to die from cancer than someone who starts smoking in their mid 20s.
  • The younger you start smoking, the more damage there will be to your body as an adult.
  • Smoking can make it harder to start a family later in life. It can make men less fertile and makes women more at risk of complications during pregnancy and labour.
  • Babies of people who smoke are also more at risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

How to stop smoking

There are lots of different ways you can help yourself stop smoking. Some people find the thought of just stopping smoking very daunting and that they would rather gradually reduce how much they smoke over time.

Tips to help you quit

  • Ask friends and family to support you. Choose people who you will be honest with you.
  • Get your friends involved. Make a deal with friends who also want to quit to support each other.
  • Prepare excuses for saying no. It can be difficult to tell friends you are stopping smoking, so prepare something ready to say when you are offered a cigarette.


Whether you intend to use drugs or not, this information should help to keep you and your friends safe.

It can be tempting to try out new things as you get older and gain more independence from your parents or carers and it is important to know about the vulnerable positions taking drugs may put you or others in before making any decisions.

Remember to think about things like the potential side effects and typical doses of the drugs you may think of using

For an A-Z of drugs visit FRANK website

Nitrous Oxide

Commonly referred to as:

  • Balloons
  • Chargers
  • Hippie Crack
  • Laughing Gas
  • Nos or Noz
  • Whippits

How you might feel:

  • Relaxed
  • giggly
  • sound distortions
  • dizzy
  • anxious,
  • paranoid.

Nitrous Oxide usually works immediately and can last up to 2 minutes

Common risks

Can give you a headache and/or stop you thinking straight.

It’s more dangerous to inhale directly from a canister. It can be hard to know a number of balloons to use in a space of time. Too much nitrous oxide can make you faint, lose consciousness, suffocate, and sever cases can lead to paralysis.