Jul 2009


The youth are the future leaders of our country. But drugs and alcohol are destroying them. Alcohol, cigarettes and drugs are not only costly, but it can kill you.

Alcohol has become a huge problem among our youth. Many young people start drinking because of peer pressure or because they think drinking will solve their problems. This often becomes a habit, which turns to alcoholism.

Alcoholics are likely to develop many health problems like liver and stomach problems, heart disease and diabetes. They are also at a higher risk of suffering from high blood pressure, and gout. In addition, alcohol makes people act irresponsibly, which can cause accidents, abuse and unsafe sex.

People who drink a lot of alcohol, age 10 times faster than people who don't drink too much.


Cigarettes are made from tobacco. Tobacco is addictive and dangerous. If you start smoking at a young age you are most likely to be addicted for a lifetime.

Cigarettes cause lung cancer and TB. Cigarettes also affect blood circulation leading to breathing and heart problems. In addition, tobacco smoking increases the chances of a stroke, and makes pneumonia and asthma worse because of difficulties with breathing.

A recent health study shows that 21 per cent of South African teenagers are smokers. These teenagers do not only harm themselves, but also those around them. This is because breathing in smoke from someone else's cigarettes (called second-hand smoke or environmental tobacco smoke) is also very harmful.


Dagga is an illegal drug in South Africa and is linked to many mental illnesses. The Department of Health says that about 18,9 per cent of South African youth smoke dagga. Many learners even smoke dagga at school.

Like cigarettes, dagga smoking also increases the chances of getting lung cancer and TB. Dagga smokers tend to develop breathing problems and cough a lot.

Dagga is most dangerous when smoked by young teenagers. Young boys delay their puberty and young girls disturb their menstrual cycle when they smoke dagga. It also affects learning ability, because young people who smoke dagga develop problems with memory and concentration. They cannot think clearly after smoking dagga, they hear sounds and see things that are not there.

A healthier nation

A healthier nation is a richer nation. Stop abusing substances like alcohol, cigarettes and dagga. This will prevent deaths as a result of cancer, heart diseases and other lung infections.

- Carol Netshifhefhe

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