The good news first: the proportion of young Australians who smoke is dropping every year. More and more people are making the decision not to take up this dangerous habit.
The bad news? More than 15,000 school students progressed from 'experimental' to 'established' smoking this year. In layman's terms, this means that thousands of young people went from 'just trying' a cigarette, to full-blown smokers.
We all know about the terrible long-term effects of smoking, like heart disease and lunch cancer. But did you know about the following effects that smoking can have on young people?:
- The resting heart rates of young adult smokers are two to three beats per minute faster than non-smokers
- Teenage smokers suffer from shortness of breath almost three times as often as teens who don't smoke, and produce phlegm more than twice as often as teens who don't smoke.
- Teenage smokers are more likely to have seen a doctor or other health professionals for an emotional or psychological complaints.
(All info taken from the World Health Organisation).
You can probably think of a friend who smokes, and who is still in denial about the effect that cigarettes are having on their body. They probably see quitting as a "future problem", and don't realise that most young smokers continue to smoke well into adulthood.
Your challenge is to ask that friend to quit smoking this summer. Now, we know that this can be a touchy subject, so here are a few tips that can help:
- Try to avoid judgemental language.
- Use "I" statements. For example, rather than saying, "you'll get lung cancer", you could say "I am worried that you will get lung cancer, and that would devastate me"
- Consider talking to your friend privately, or writing them a letter, rather than confronting them in a group
- Check out the Quit Website, and learn some of the Benefits of Quitting to communicate to your friend.
- If your friend is receptive to the idea of quitting, be positive and tell them you are proud of them.