Question: I’m 15 years old I have just started smoking, about three to four cigarettes a day. How long will it take before I could start having problems? I’ve heard many older people smoke with no noticeable health problems.
Dr. Hibberd’s answer:
How foolish you are to start smoking now. Your tissues are sensitive to damage as a teen, and you are setting yourself up for the scarring lung changes and pre-cancerous conditions seen in smokers.
COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) is a disabling scarring condition of the airways and lungs and little can be done to reverse the damage once it occurs from smoking. As a smoker, you also increase your stroke and heart attack risk, not to mention cancer.
For detectable damage, it may take as little as 6 months, but the disabling disease risks start to really escalate at 10 years, and become more pronounced after two decades. It is true that there are a very few who manage to escape the ravages of smoking damage, and this seems to relate to genetics and is not well understood.
If this is what you are betting on, a safer bet might be a lottery ticket with its odds in excess of one in a million.
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