Very recently a class of schoolchildren were asked to prepare a presentation to others in the same year. Rebecca Craft [aged 15] from North Wales selected smoking as her subject.

Such a detailed and explicit review ought not be confined to just one year’s students. It has a message for everyone. The only way it will retain its full impact is if it is related, exactly as she wrote it, in its entirety.

I have been asked to talk to you today about smoking as our Head of Year has noticed a huge rise in the number of you smoking in recent months. If we all work together to make a change, we can help stop you smoking for good. Whether you are a 20 a day or just someone who smokes every now and then, you need to stop now because if you don’t it could just be too late.

Did You Know?

Every single day more than 6,000 people under the age of 18 try a cigarette and half of these become daily, regular smokers. If trends continue, approximately 5 million people under 18 will eventually die from a smoking related illness. Don’t become one of the statistics.

I know that you are an intelligent year, so why are you putting your body through this? Years of research show the link between smoking and cancer is now very clear. Smoking is the single biggest cause of cancer in the world and accounts for one in four UK cancer deaths. In the UK, smoking kills five times more people than road accidents, overdoses, murder, suicide and HIV all put together.

Lung cancer has one of the lowest survival rates of all cancers and is the most common cause of cancer death in the UK. Lung cancer is developed in around 20 years, do you want to be just 35 and be faced with only a few months to live due to lung cancer?

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Smoking also increases the risk of over a dozen other cancers including cancers of the mouth, larynx [voice box], oesophagus [food pipe], liver, pancreas, stomach, kidney, bladder and cervix, as well as some types of leukaemia. The good news is that most of these deaths are preventable by giving up smoking in time. The fact is that half of all smokers eventually die from cancer or other smoking-related illnesses and a quarter of smokers die in middle age, between 35 and 69.

Are you not humiliated when you can’t play football with your friends because you’re out of breath in just a few minutes? Do you like watching life pass you by, not being able to join in? Well, you had better start to get used to it because if you choose to smoke you choose a life on the side-line. Did you know that girls who smoke in their early teens increase their risk of developing cancer by 70%. Every 8 seconds someone dies due to smoking. Don’t become one of the statistics.

A UK smoker who smokes around 30 cigarettes per day will spend around £2,600 per year on their habit. Even if you smoke 20 a week, that’s a total of £260 a year. Think of what you could buy with that; new clothes, make-up, iPod, laptop or even a last minute package holiday.

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Not only does smoking damage you on the inside but on the outside too. Looking at you now I can see that you are an attractive year, so why ruin your looks on this disgusting habit? You spend so much money on hair products, make-up and perfumes but as soon as you take a drag of that cigarette it is all a complete waste of money.

You get greasy hair, nicotine stained hands, spotty, greasy and dull skin and you smell like an ashtray! Would you find that attractive? At this age you are meant to look your absolute best, young fresh and wrinkle free but instead you look like you don’t care, all because of smoking.

Smoking also damages your senses, did you know that smoking is one of the most common causes of blindness? Smoking also causes loss of taste and smell, don’t you treasure the ability to see, smell and taste? Then you will have to stop smoking!

The annoying thing about smoking is that the people who do the right thing also have to put up with your smoking. This not only damages your own health but the people around you too! Passive smoking kills 10,000 people every year in the UK, can you live with the guilt of putting other people through this?

Nearly 85 percent of smoke in a room is caused by side-stream smoke, [the smoke that drifts off the end of a burning cigarette], in which the concentration of toxins is much greater than the concentration that is ‘filtered’ through the length of the cigarette when the smoker smokes it.

Society and Government have changed their views on smoking dramatically in recent years. Smoking was to be seen as a trendy thing to do, now it is seen as dirty and the government are doing anything they can to stop it. One thing the government have done is raised the legal age of buying tobacco products to 18 and made it illegal to smoke in public places.

The NHS have also had enough of smoking and the amount of money they have to spend on treating people with smoking related illnesses. They are now starting to refuse to operate on smokers. This is because they would be much less likely to survive the operation and if they did they would not recover well.

These are the facts.

These are the real statistics about people who have died.

People just like YOU.

You have two choices, are you going to make the right one?

valley lad – [THIRTY-TWO]