Dangers of smoking and alcohol

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Cub First Aid and Health Badge - Explain two dangers to health of each of the following: smoking, drinking alcohol.
Gold Wolf: Healthy Living - Understand what effect smoking, alcohol and drug abuse may have on your body.


Smoking will shorten your life. There's no single good reason to start smoking, and someone who smokes can never be as healthy as someone who doesn't.

The diseases caused by smoking do not appear until later in life, so young people might not believe that it dangerous to start smoking. Tobacco smoke contains a drug called nicotine and you can very easily become addicted to it. It is a powerful addiction and extremely difficult to give up. Tobacco smoke also contains tar, which causes lung cancer and bronchitis - a chronic infection of the lungs.

Smoking also causes another serious disease called emphysema. Because of the irritation caused by the tar in smoke and the constant coughing, the lungs develop a mass of tiny dilated air sacs (or holes) and the person cannot breathe properly. That's why older people who have smoked for many years often fight for breath when they climb stairs.

Vaping, or e-cigarettes, also harms your lungs and causes addiction to nicotine.


Alcohol is found in drinks like beer, wine, whisky, vodka, cane spirits, and others. Alcohol is a drug that affects your brain and your body. It is especially dangerous for children, so children are not allowed to drink alcohol.

Even one or two alcoholic drinks have an immediate bad effect. The alcohol affects your brain and slows down your reactions, and makes you careless and uncoordinated. This is called being drunk. A quiet person may become loud and unpleasant. A timid person may get into fights. A person who drinks may become aggressive and abusive.

Alcohol is especially dangerous for people on the roads: many deaths are caused by drunk drivers and pedestrians who are drunk.

Alcohol stops you from thinking clearly, so you are much more likely to do things which you would not normally do, without realising that they are dangerous. A person who is drinking is more vulnerable to getting hurt by other people, more likely to do something that harms them or other people, and more likely to do something that they seriously regret afterwards.

Over time, if someone regularly drinks a large amount of alcohol, it will permanently damage the brain, liver and heart. People who drink too much cannot work and think properly. They become irritable and aggressive, and often suffer from depression. They could lose their jobs and their friends and families. Drinking too much causes an addiction to alcohol. Throughout the world there are millions of alcoholics who can't stop drinking, but at one time, all of them thought that a few drinks would not harm them.

Do not be misled into thinking that alcohol is not a deadly and dangerous drug. Your good health, and even your life, may depend on your healthy fear of alcohol.