Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Confessions of a Teenage Smoker; They Know That Cigarettes Can Kill, So Why Do So Many Young Adults Still Smoke?

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Confessions of a Teenage Smoker; They Know That Cigarettes Can Kill, So Why Do So Many Young Adults Still Smoke?

Article excerpt

Byline: VICTORIA YOUNG

TODAY'S teenagers know better than any other generation just what damage smoking can do. Yet increasing numbers of youngsters still smoke, especially females.

Ella McNaney, 18, is a model from Fulham. She started smoking at the age of 12 and, despite being aware of the dangers, has no plans to give up.

'I know that smoking kills. I can sit here and reel off a long list of all the potential side-effects: lung cancer, infertility, horrible nails and teeth, bad breath, wrinkles - it's endless. I know that I'm definitely messing up my lungs. But at this age, it just doesn't bother me. I'm 18, what the hell, I've got time to kick the habit.

I obviously haven't heard enough negative information to make me stop. I never feel guilty. I live a very healthy lifestyle in every other way. I eat well and go to the gym three times a week.

Stopping smoking would make my life too regimented.

It's not really the taste I enjoy. It's the feeling of the smoke on my lungs - I enjoy the sensation of inhaling. But on a day-today basis I actually find it quite embarrassing. It's a nasty habit. I hate the ash. I hate the smell.

I suppose I'm a bit of a fastidious smoker.

My dad was a chain smoker. When I was about seven, the bad press about smoking was at its height and I mounted a campaign to make him give up. I nagged him for about a week and he gave up in the end, so after that I wasn't in a smoking environment. In my experience, people who grow up surrounded by smoke are either heavy smokers or heavily against it. Perhaps that's why I'm blase.

I didn't really consider myself to be "a smoker" until I started buying cigarettes at 15. But I had my first when I was 12. I couldn't even smoke properly and I thought it was revolting. But of all my friends, I'm the one who has always done things first. I love to take risks and I like to try everything.

But I hid it from my parents. They would have been very concerned. Now they know that I smoke and I'm sure they'd prefer it if I didn't. But what can they do? They know I'm my own person.

I WAS scouted by Models One when I was 13, but I wanted to wait until I had finished my A-levels to really go for it. …

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