Smoking and U

The in's and out's of smoking

What is Tobacco?

We all know that cigarettes contain Tobacco. But what it is and why is it so bad for you?

Click on the link below (Tobacco: Behind the Smoke) and watch the first 6 videos titled From Tobacco Plant to Cigarette that explain what Tobacco is, how its gets into a cigarette and what makes it harmful.

What else is in a Cigarette?

It's just one cigarette...but wow! That little thing has over 4,000 chemicals in it! You already know that cigarettes contain Nicotine, but did you know that Nicotine is also used in bug spray? Before you decide to light up, you might want to know just what it is that you're inhaling
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To give you an idea of the harm these substances can do, picture the thick gooey-ness of tar. The average smoker inhales about one cup of tar a year.

What Happens when Tobacco Burns?

Watch the 3 videos in the link below to understand what happens when a cigarette is lit up.

How Smoking Affects the Body

Explore the website below and see how smoking changes your body over time. Click on each body part and learn how smoking will change you.

What is Secondhand Smoke?

Secondhand smoke comes from both the smoke that smokers exhale (called mainstream smoke) and the smoke floating from the end of the cigarette, cigar, or pipe (called sidestream smoke).
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High concentrations of many of the chemicals contained in a cigarette are also found in secondhand smoke. In fact, secondhand smoke significantly increases a person's risk for:

  • respiratory infections (like bronchitis and pneumonia)
  • asthma (secondhand smoke is a risk factor for the development of asthma and can trigger attacks in those who already have it)
  • coughing, sore throats, sniffling, and sneezing
  • cancer
  • heart disease

So secondhand smoke doesn't just impact a person in the future. It can cause problems right now, like affecting someone's sports performance or ability to be physically active.

Smoking and Addiction

Almost everyone knows that smoking causes cancer, emphysema, and heart disease; that it can shorten your life by 10 years or more; and that the habit can cost a smoker thousands of dollars a year. So how come people are still lighting up? The answer, in a word, is addiction.
Nicotine is the chemical that makes tobacco products so addictive. As you introduce nicotine to your body, you will begin to crave more. The use of cigarettes and other forms of tobacco that contain nicotine (such as little cigars, cigars, pipes, chewing tobacco, and snuff) may lead to addiction.

Addiction means that a person cannot control their use of a substance (they use it despite harmful consequences). Nicotine causes addiction and physical dependence.

  • Nicotine may cause you to temporarily feel good or energized. It also causes the release of natural chemicals in your brain that may make you feel more alert and calm.
  • Over time, your body builds a tolerance to some of the effects of nicotine and you must therefore continue to smoke to make the effects last.
  • When you go without tobacco for more than a few hours, you may experience withdrawal symptoms. Many people continue to smoke to avoid feeling this way.

Smoking is also a learned behaviour, causing you to form habits that are tough to break. You learn to associate things with smoking, like:

  • the pleasant feelings that it brings you
  • the temporary relief of worry, tension, boredom or fatigue
  • drinking coffee or alcohol
  • eating a good meal
  • having a good time with friends
When you stop smoking, the nicotine levels in your body drop and you may have withdrawal symptoms. It is good to know that these symptoms are temporary and are often signs your body is healing.

  • Most withdrawal symptoms happen within the first week. Symptoms are usually gone after two to four weeks.
  • Withdrawal symptoms may include:
    • dizziness and shakiness
    • headaches
    • anxiety and irritability
    • nervousness and restlessness
    • difficulty concentrating and sleeping
    • increased appetite
    • slight depression or feeling down
    • cravings for a smoke

What is Thirdhand Smoke?

Watch the video titled "Thirdhand smoke"


Electronic cigarettes are a new tobacco product, and research into its public and individual health effects lags behind their popularity. In fact, many may be surprised to learn that e-cigarettes are entirely unregulated by Federal Agencies. Because of this, there are no safety checks or requirements for what can go in an e-cigarette.
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Unlike traditional cigarettes, e-cigarettes are generally battery-operated and use a heating element to heat e-liquid from a refillable cartridge, releasing a chemical-filled aerosol.

Electronic cigarettes started out being marketed to smokers as a way to help them quit. Now that e-cigarettes have gone mainstream, regulators and scientists are taking notice. Expect to see more information coming out about e-cigarettes and their health effects.

If You want to Quit

  • Make a specific plan. Set a date to begin the quitting process. If you smoke cigarettes, try going cold turkey before relying on e-cigarettes to help. If that doesn't work, it's time for a plan to wean yourself off nicotine. Make a specific goal, like using one less e-cigarette each day for a week. Keep cutting back until you no longer smoke or vape.
  • Stay busy. Take your mind off cigarettes by exercising or doing something that involves your hands, like art, music, knitting, or woodworking. Stay aware of specific times and situations that make you want cigarettes (like at a party or after a meal), and come up with a plan to handle those times.
  • Delay giving in to a craving. When you crave a cigarette or e-cig, put off giving in to the urge. It can be easier to tell yourself to "wait" than to tell yourself '"no." Do something else to take your mind off the craving. Chances are, the urge will pass, and — congratulations — that means one less cigarette!
  • Keep focused on why you want to quit. Write down all the reasons you want to stop using cigarettes or e-cigarettes, like the money you'll save or the extra energy you'll have. Keep the list where you can see it. Read it every day, even though you already know the reasons. Doing this helps your brain automatically remind you of a reason when you feel a strong craving.
  • Get support. Turn to your family or a trusted adult for moral support when you really want a cigarette. It also helps strengthen your resolve to tell other people that you are quitting. If you don't want friends and family to know you smoke or use e-cigs, join an online or in-person support group. See if friends will join you in quitting. If not, ask them not to smoke or use e-cigarettes in front of you.
  • Be good to yourself. Some people use e-cigs to avoid harming friends and family with secondhand smoke. But you're still hurting them by harming someone they love — you. Be your own best friend and give yourself praise each time you avoid reaching for the e-cigs.