Joe Smirkin It ain't cool - most kids don't smoke, Don't be in the minority - join us! Tasha Smirkin

Cigarettes and addiction

Cigarette smoke contains a strongly addictive drug called nicotine.


When a smoker inhales cigarette smoke, nicotine plays tricks on their brain straightaway, making them think they're more relaxed (although actually they're not because their heart is beating even faster). These feelings don't last long and over time, a person needs to smoke more and more cigarettes to get these feelings back. It is this addiction to the nicotine in cigarettes that makes it so hard for smokers to quit.

Nicotine addiction develops very quickly in children. Children aged between 11 and 16 who smoke one or more cigarettes a week have similar levels of nicotine dependence as adults.

Actions speak louder than words

Non-smoking teenagers most frequently quote fear of addiction as the main reason why they do not smoke. In 2001, the Schools Health Education Unit found that 75% of teenage smokers wanted to quit.

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