“Hi The embarrassment is un-explainable and smoking has

“Hi I’m Karen, I am a 52 year old woman who 
has been smoking since about 20 years old.
I became addicted, smoked on average for 6 
minutes per cigarette, around 10-12 times a day, 
could not stop, and now brings me here, trying to 
survive the living hell that smoking causes. 
6 years ago I was diagnosed with emphysema 
and urinary incontinence which therefore leaves 
me housebound, and unable to walk only a few 
metres before becoming extremely exhausted. 
The embarrassment is un-explainable and smoking 
has ruined my life. 
The cancer which I developed after all these years 
of smoking has left me to survive trauma and damage 
during and after treatments; allowing me to never 
speak again, swallow or function normally. 

Many people, like me have to experience getting tubes 
shoved in their stomach for the rest of their lives in order 
to receive the food and water to keep them alive.
Due to the multiple reconstruction and treatments to try 
to remove the cancer, I am left with almost my entire tongue 
gone, lower jaw, gums and teeth permanently removed. 
My life, along with 55% of women who smoke regularly has 
been destroyed by this cancer.”

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Hearing Karen’s story, only being one out of the thousands 
of lives destroyed due to smoking has encouraged me to speak 
up and make you aware of how traumatic and awful the effects
of smoking has on humans and our bodies, encouraging a 
solution to this problem.  
The smoking age needs to be raised to 21 years old, 
therefore guaranteeing that smoking and other tobacco 
rates among youth will reduced, and save lives. 
Similarly to the concept of penalties with alcohol, I would love 
to see the same approach with under age smoking. 

For example, throughout the years, the government has put 
forward that not only is the offender of the crime charged, but 
the parents or provider of the alcohol is also charged. 
Therefore, replicating this similar approach, will ensure 
that smoking underage will eventually decrease because
Data across the world shows that around 95% of adults who
smoke today, started smoking before the age of 21. Therefore, 
if smoking becomes illegal before this age, an individual is 
more unlikely to pick up a cigarette after 21. 
Tobacco smoke contains more then 7,000 chemicals in 
each cigarette and can harm nearly every single organ 
in the body. 70 of the 7,000 chemicals are known to cause 
cancer depending on an individuals daily intake of tobacco 
and how long they have been smoking for. 
It is estimated that in Australia, 80% of lung cancer is 
accompanied by the use of tobacco smoke. 

I am extremely passionate about a topic such as this as 
“tobacco smoking is one of the largest preventable causes 
of death and disease in Australia”, and if someone like 
me, just a kid, can even make one person AWARE of the 
damage and death in which smoking causes, we could 
make an end to one Australian passing away every 
28 minutes due to smoking or the 15,000 deaths per year.
Not only is there physical damage to the body 
due to smoking, but smoking causes mental trauma as 
well through establishing an addiction. Once 
addicted, most people can not stop. 

For a young person to have to go through the emotions 
and psychological stress that smoking can cause due to 
either wanting to quit and can’t or, quitting but then 
experience cravings, anxiety, restless sleep, eating more 
or headaches leads to serious consequence, such as 
depression and suicide. Studies show that 75% of smokers 
have tried and want to quit smoking, however, the addiction 
is too great, that they just can not. 
In addition, studies have shown that the total cost of smoking
in Australia to society to deal with the disease it causes is
$31.5 billion each year – related to the mental illness hospitals
and regular doctors and hospitals. 

Im a teenager myself, and yes, although I have never 
taken part in it, I have been introduced to smoking and 
has been offered many cigarettes only in my 16 years on 
this earth. We are all too young to be taking part in smoking 
regularly or becoming addicted, let alone even try it!  And do 
you know how horrible 
it is to see that smoking around 16-17 year olds has become a 
‘social event’ and such a normal thing. If the smoking age was
raised to 21 years old, with tough penalties for kids and their 
parents, this wouldn’t happen and the horrible habit of 
smoking being a ‘social thing’ would be out of the question. 
Just imagine, if you try it at a party, you kind of like it, you 
try it once more and then your addicted for life. Wouldn’t you 
want to wish you didn’t try smoking at that 17th birthday party? 
…”A single death is a tragedy, a million deaths a statistic. 
And in tobacco control, there are statistics to die for”