Why Smoking Is Bad For You

Non Smoking SignWhy you should not smoke

Tobacco is a very dangerous drug. It is legal and widely used.
Thousands of people die every year as a result of smoking cigarettes, cigars and pipes. The combined effects of nicotine, (the main drug in tobacco) and other gases which enter the lungs when smoked, greatly increases the chance of disease and ill-health. Tobacco is a stimulant drug giving smokers a 'lift'.

Smoking has been directly linked to lung cancer, heart disease and other major illnesses, as well being dangerous during pregnancy for the mother and unborn child.

It is also recognised that secondary smoking or passive smoking can put the health of others at risk. This is one of the reasons why smoking has been so widely banned in public places.

Smoking and young people

Although the number of adults who smoke has dropped over the past ten years, this has not happened amongst young people. In fact in some parts of the country the number of young smokers has actually increased especially amongst young women.

Statistics have shown that one quarter of Britain's 15 year olds (both boys and girls) are regular smokers. It is estimated that 450 children per day start smoking. Half of all teenagers who are currently smoking will die from diseases caused by tobacco if they continue to smoke throughout their lives and one half of this number will have their lives shortened by an average of 23 years.

Currently one in five 15 year old boys smoke cigarettes - this is a decrease of 5% since the mid 1980s. The numbers of teenage girls smoking has risen from 25% in the mid 1980s to 29% now - that's one in three.

What Are The Costs?


  • Wheezing, shortness of breath
  • Lack of energy, poor concentration
  • Dull skin, nicotine-stained fingers, premature wrinkling
  • Reduced fertility, risky pregnancy, baby at risk
  • Damaged taste buds, stained teeth
  • Lung cancer, emphysema, stroke, heart attack - the list goes on
  • Damaged circulation, gangrene, amputation


  • Polluting the air with carcinogens
  • Children at higher risk of asthma, cot-death, bronchitis and glue ear
  • Smoke gets in your eyes
  • Dusty, stuffy home. Nicotine stains your walls as well as your fingers.
  • Spoilt clothes and furniture
  • Increased risk of fire in the home


At today's rates, a 20-a-day smoker will spend £43,800 over the next 20 years.

Action on Smoking and Health

ASH is a campaigning public health charity working for a comprehensive societal response to tobacco aimed at achieving a sharp reduction and eventual elimination of the health problems caused by tobacco.

Last updated on: 06/07/2021 - 09:34