There is no excuse for smoking
Smokers should think about how they affect other people. More than 53,000 people die of second-hand smoke every year. Smoking outdoors is no better. You are just polluting the lungs of people you do not know.
It is easy to tell if someone is a smoker. You can smell it. Sometimes you can see if someone smokes; their appearance is tired and their skin is an ugly shade. Other effects of smoking only happen on the inside. Lung cancer is the effect everybody knows about. Smoking can also cause other cancers, heart disease and hardening of the arteries. And that's just a few of the problems.
On average, each cigarette you smoke shortens your life by 11 minutes. If you smoke a pack of cigarettes a day, then after a year your life will be shortened by 56 days!
Remember that quitting is not impossible. With the right amount of determination, you can do it.
Beatrice Lam, Miriam Lo, Tai You-ho and Felix Mei, Creative Secondary School
From the Editor
Thank you for your letter. Smoking is one of those things many young people try because they think it looks cool and grown-up - according to a survey carried out by the Hong Kong Council on Smoking and Health between October 2010 and January 2011, 2.7 per cent of students in Forms Four, Five and Six have smoked at least once.
But the truth is, it's not cool, and it is dangerous. As well as the diseases you mention, smoking can increase the risk of strokes, aneurysms, rheumatoid arthritis, dementia, gum disease, tooth loss, osteoporosis and cataracts. Smoking can make it difficult to have children, and make it harder for you to recover from colds, flu and chest infections. What's more, smoking makes you stink, makes your teeth and fingers yellow, lessens your sense of smell and taste - and uses up all your money. With cigarettes at HK$50 a packet, starting smoking is a very quick way to say goodbye to your pocket money.
If you have started, it's time to quit. Visit www.smokefree.hk to learn about ways to stop. And if you've never smoked before, but are tempted because you think it will make you cooler, don't. It won't.
Karly, Deputy Editor