How does smoking affect young people right away?

 The younger a person begins smoking, the more likely they will become strongly addicted to nicotine.

Young people who smoke will likely have breathing difficulty which makes it harder to be physically active because smoking damages the lungs and reduces the rate of lung growth. Young people who smoke can begin showing signs of heart disease and are more likely to get colds, infections, earaches and other illnesses. 

When a person smokes, the cigarette releases chemical residues which stick to their clothes, hair and skin. Not only is this unpleasant smell very hard to clean, the lingering chemicals caught in clothing, or on the person’s body are still dangerous. 

Smoking leads to a loss of taste and smell, and causes bad breath. Substances in tobacco smoke change the structure of the skin which can cause wrinkles and premature aging. 

Check out Tobacco and Your Body for more information.    

What are the symptoms of nicotine addiction for young people?    

Young people who smoke even a small number of cigarettes per day can begin to experience symptoms of dependence to nicotine including cravings, nervousness, restlessness, irritability, hunger, difficulty concentrating and problems sleeping.

How are smokeless tobacco products harmful?

Smokeless tobacco, like chewing tobacco and snuff, contain high levels of nicotine which cause addiction. 

Smokeless tobacco can cause dental problems like cavities, gum disease and tooth loss. It can also lead to heart disease and many types of cancer.

How quickly can children and youth become addicted to tobacco?

Nicotine in tobacco is one of the most addictive substances known. Young people can become addicted to cigarettes in just a few weeks after their first cigarette. 

Smokeless tobacco products can have higher levels of nicotine than cigarettes so young people can become addicted to these types of products quickly and easily.

What else could I do with my money by not smoking?

If you buy tobacco, imagine how much you could save if you quit. Check out this online calculator. Imagine other things you could buy (snowmobile, car, boat) if you saved the money you would otherwise spend on tobacco.

Cigarettes and other tobacco are expensive in Nunavut and the price of these products will continue to rise in the future. Young people who become addicted now may find the cost of tobacco steeply rise throughout their lifetimes. If they quit now, or never start using tobacco, imagine what else they could do with those savings.