Youth and Smoking

The benefits of staying smoke-free now stack up. Ninety per cent of adult smokers started before age 16; so if you don't smoke as a teen, the odds are that you won't start later.

Facts about smoking

Teens may try smoking because their friends and/or their parents smoke, they think it's cool, they're curious, and they think it relaxes them...but the truth is:

Smoking is a waste of money

Smoking a 1/2 pack a day costs you about $100 dollars a month - more than $1000 a year. 

The tobacco industry targets youth

"We don't smoke that sh**; we just sell it. We reserve that for the young, the black, the poor and the stupid." - RJ Reynolds Executive.

Smoking isn't normal

For years the tobacco industry has promoted smoking as normal. Tobacco industry denormalization (TID) is an effort to let people in on the truth that tobacco use has clear health risks and that the tobacco industry has been selling us a lie.

What you're breathing in when you smoke is dangerous

When you smoke, you are breathing in: tar, nicotine, benzene, carbon monoxide, hydrogen cyanide, formaldehyde, and much, much more. Health Canada has the full list available here.

Smoking kills smokers and non-smokers

Health Canada reports that "Unless they quit, up to half of all smokers will die from their smoking, most of them before their 70th birthday and only after years of suffering a reduced quality of life." If you are a non-smoker who is exposed to second-hand smoke, your risk of getting lung cancer or developing heart disease increases by 20%.

Thinking about quitting

Think you can quit anytime you want to? Don't smoke every day? 

  • Challenge yourself to quit for 24 hours to see how you do. If you make it, why not keep going? 
  • If you don't smoke every day, try to quit for a weekend or avoid smoking at social events.

Occasional smoking or "social smoking" is not easy to do. Nicotine in tobacco is as addictive as heroin and 8 out of 10 teens who smoke will get hooked.

If you're thinking about quitting, there are resources available to help you.

School Supports

For tobacco prevention, protection and cessation resources for teachers and parents please go to the School Health website.

Additional information and resources

Teens and young adults

Want to learn more or get involved in local projects? Check out:

Leave the Pack Behind

Lungs Are For Life

Quit For Life

The Truth