Smoking and Young people: Why they choose to do it
Translated by Dafni Manti
Despite research showing that from 2012 until today, the number of regular smokers is decreasing, with occasional and non-smokers increasing, there are still many people who remain addicted to smoking. Many among them tend to be freshmen or even juniors. This article does not intend to analyze the effects of smoking on the human body, which are profoundly plenty and harmful. Instead, it aims to highlight the reasons that young people choose to take up smoking, despite being aware of the effects it has on their body.
Trying it out
Studies have shown that tobacco companies usually target people between 12-14 years old. Do you know why? It’s because the younger someone is the easier it is to be influenced by others. Notably, if by the time you’re 18 you have not been influenced to start smoking, then it’s almost certain that you’ll never have the desire to begin doing so. When you try cigarettes by yourself, you are essentially creating an addiction for yourself. You experience a form of relaxation, but not because you actually need to rest. That’s because the nicotine itself gives you the feeling that if you don’t smoke, you won’t feel relaxed. In reality, however, if you had never started smoking, this need would not exist. But the question is… Why are young people, especially students, so susceptible to the idea of smoking?
It’s a “taboo”
Another reason why young people choose to smoke, is the curiosity for all things “taboo“. It is believed that, if you try to forbid a child from doing something, they will most likely do it. For the curious young people, the idea of doing something “forbidden” makes them more excited. Research also shows that it is mainly girls in their teenage years who start smoking in order to lose weight. Cigarettes reduce the desire for food, while they cause faster heart palpitations. Both lead to weight loss and, something that tends to be forgotten, in later stages to serious illness.
I smoke, so I “belong”
It is argued that a large percentage of student smokers take up smoking for social reasons (e.g. at parties). The need for young people to fit into a social group leads them to imitate the habits of the ones they want to hang out with. They feel that if they do not start smoking, they will not be accepted. The classification of cigarettes as a means of social integration is confirmed by the perception that through smoking many people start conversations and find common interests with strangers.
Part of their daily life
Smoking has become associated with everyday habits, such as drinking coffee, doing fun activities, relaxing in front of the TV or computer, having late night drinks, etc. This is the main reason why people cannot quit, as it starts becoming part of their daily routine early on. It seems that the only way to quit smoking is to realize how harmful it is to one’s health and have the conscious desire to quit. However, smoking does not subside by buying fewer packs per month. As it is claimed, after all, all addictions are cut instantly. Otherwise they can never be overcome.
Don’t worry about it, it’s not too late to quit. And if you’ve still tried and failed, you can try once more!