Lifestyles Center Blog

HUMP DAY: WHY PEOPLE SMOKE

I read an article which listed ten reasons why people start smoking while knowing it could kill them someday. I believe that spreading the awareness of what makes people pick up that first cigarette is important and can have an effect on how many teens and young adults start.

Not surprisingly, but still unfortunately, the first reason was peer pressure. I think so many people feel some sort of pressure to smoke at some point in their adolescence, from friends or even parents. Having someone tell you to do something you don’t want to do is hard to react to on the spot, especially if you’re trying to make friends or find out who you want to be. There are rewards for behaving like the rest of the group, and it’s easier to be accepted when you go with the flow. However, not only should you want to fight that kind of pressure, you also want to be the pressure for another person. Teenagers also tend to take part in more risky behaviors, and the effects of smoking are extremely risky, especially for those under the legal age to purchase and smoke tobacco.

The article also spoke about what teens learn from watching their parents smoke. Parents are our first and biggest role models. It’s not such a shock that children of active smokers are more likely to smoke than children of non-smokers, who are much more believable when they say smoking is dangerous and not worth it. On top of that, children of those addicted to nicotine are more likely to have that addictive personality making them possibly susceptible to other risky behaviors.

Advertising was also a major reason why people start smoking. Billboards, commercials, and ads target a younger audience. The younger you’re hooked, the longer you’re hooked, and that’s just more money for them. We’ve all taken health classes, and I remember watching the commercials that were filled with false information and manipulation. Becoming more aware of this and choosing not to pay attention to the message that cigarette commercials are trying to convey is vital. The companies know how dangerous their product is; that’s just not their concern.

Cigarettes are often associated with the release of stress. Ironically, while attempting to relieve that stress, smokers instead harbor a physical and psychological need for the cigarettes, so they’d likely put themselves in a lot more stress if those cigarettes were to be taken away. This raises the question: is it really worth the temporary relief of stress for a possibly permanent addiction?

We know cigarettes are bad for us, yet every day someone buys their first pack of many. It’s a difficult problem to fix, with the attention tobacco gets from the media, celebrities, and from even our own families. The effects of cigarettes can take so long to occur that they seem harmless, but you know that’s not true.

Written by Angelica Perez, Peer Educator

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