Sara Bellum
July 7 2010

Many teens and their parents spend money on clothes, haircuts, braces, perfumes, athletic gear, and sports memberships, all to try and look their best. But smoking cigarettes can cancel out all these hard-earned efforts. Besides diseases like cancer and emphysema, smoking can cause:

  • Yellow-brown teeth and bad breath.
  • Discolored skin on your fingers.
  • Smelly clothes and hair (not good on a date!)
  • Loss of sense of smell and taste (so much for your favorite foods).
  • Lower stamina for exercise and sports.
  • Deeper wrinkles than average for a person’s age.
  • Uncontrollable coughing fits and mucous overload.

The list of negative effects goes on and on. Seventy-five percent of high school seniors prefer to date someone who doesn’t smoke. This list makes it easy to understand why!

Ready to Quit? It’s never too late—or too early!—to quit smoking. Quitting isn’t easy, but resources are out there to help. In fact, the CDC has several resources on quitting smoking that can help you out. The guide offers specific tips on what to do on the day you quit and ways to distract yourself in the first, hardest days after you toss out the pack and lighters. For instance, when cravings hit, you can:

  • Carry things to put in your mouth, like gum, hard candy, or toothpicks.
  • Keep busy by going to the movies, bicycling, walking the dog, playing video games, or calling a friend.
  • Go places where you’re not allowed to smoke, like the movies or the mall.

When you quit, treat yourself to a reward, and pay for it with the money you used to spend on cigarettes. To talk to someone about quitting, call the national toll-free number, 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669). If you don’t smoke (good for you!) but you have a friend or sibling who does, send them this blog post to encourage them to take the positive, life-saving step of quitting.

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