The new smokefree law has been introduced to protect employees and the public from the harmful effects of secondhand smoke.
Local councils are responsible for enforcing the new law in England. They have worked closely with businesses ensuring that everyone understands how to become smokefree.
Anyone who smokes in a smokefree place could face an on the spot fine of £50 (or £200 if the matter goes to court) for smoking in a smokefree place.
With so many different views out there about smoking, it’s hard to know what to do. Your mates might love or hate smoking, your parents or carers might smoke but encourage you not to and then there’s the medical experts warning of the risks.
But what do YOU think??? Sometimes it can be tempting to start smoking if you’re in a group, especially if you’re the only one who doesn’t smoke. But read the facts first and make up your own mind.
The law on buying and selling tobacco
It is illegal for anyone under the age of 18 in England and Wales to be sold cigarettes (or other products like roll-up tobacco and cigars) over the counter or at a vending machine.
This is to try to stop people starting to smoke as teenagers. It’s been estimated that people who start smoking at 15 are three times more likely to die from cancer than someone who starts in their twenties.
Why you might smoke
- Tobacco is a stimulant which gives you a lift.
- Smoking helps tension and anxiety – this isn’t completely true – the stimulants in tobacco give you a lift, but it may be the action of smoking that takes your mind off your problems, rather than the tobacco itself.
- Smoking can help you stay slim – this is a myth. Smoking might take your mind off food for a while but it doesn’t stop you being hungry.
- Smoking makes you more sociable and you look cool and sexy – look at all the pop and film stars who smoke. What you need to remember here is that you may think you look good but you will be at risk from smoking-related diseases, your skin will become 40% thinner than a non-smokers and you will get more wrinkles in later life.
Why you shouldn’t smoke
- Smoking is linked to lung cancer, heart disease, bronchitis and other illnesses and every year around 120,000 smokers die.
- It is now illegal to smoke in any enclosed public place and you could face a fine of £50.
- Smoking whilst pregnant can be dangerous for the unborn baby.
- The nicotine in tobacco is addictive making it hard to stop once you have started.
- It will cost you! If you smoke ten cigarettes a day you will spend around £800 or more a year, you could buy 60 CDs or go on holiday for the same amount.
- Smoking can cause impotence.
- Smoking makes your hair, breath and clothes smell and can make your teeth and skin yellow.
Want to quit?
Not smoking or stubbing out a cigarette for the last time takes a lot of guts. If you do stay smoke-free, you’ll feel the benefits straight away. You’ll feel healthier and breathe a lot more clearly. You will also have more cash in your pocket and reduce the risk from life threatening diseases.
There are lots of things available to help you stop smoking such as nicotine patches, special chewing gum and nasal sprays. You can also get counselling or try acupuncture.
So it’s up to you – it’s your choice – but before you decide make sure you have read and understood ALL the facts.
Who can help?
You can visit gosmokefree.co.uk, text ‘GIVEUP’ and your full postcode to 88088 or ask at your local GP practice, pharmacy or hospital.
Teen Life Check is a quick and easy online quiz for 12-15 year-olds that lets you check out your health and lifestyle. Your answers and results are confidential and you’ll get some useful advice on issues such as bullying, stress, home life, crime, healthy eating, exercise, safe sex, drugs, alcohol and more. Visit www.teenlifecheck.co.uk.