Everyone knows that smoking is ultimately dangerous to health. But why are many people addicted to it, especially the youth? Why can’t they live a day without puffing cigarettes? And despite the known ill effects of tobacco use, why do teenagers continue with their life-threatening habit?
1. Because they know they should not do it.
Many teenagers find it thrilling to try the forbidden stuff. The more they are restricted, the more they feel like doing it. The fact that they are being forbidden to smoke makes them wonder what is special about cigarettes that they shouldn’t discover. The first puff was just to experience. They never know it’s going to be followed with more puffs.
2. Because they idolize their parents.
Children of smoking parents are more likely to smoke than children whose parents do not smoke. Many teenagers are triggered to smoke because it’s what they see in their parents. They think that it is okay to smoke because their own parents do.
3. Because they think it makes them ‘cool’.
Many teenagers are encouraged to smoke because they believe that being a smoker is extraordinary. They wanted to be like those commercial models, celebrities, actors and actresses, sports people, and other prominent individuals they idolize.
4. Because their peers do it.
Peer pressure can be a strong smoking trigger. In many instances, teenagers are forced to smoke because if they don’t, they will not be considered a ‘part’ of the group. They have this deep need to ‘fit in’ and be accepted.
5. Because they love hanging out.
Teenagers are normally at the fun-seeking stage. They love partying, going out with friends, and ‘chillin’ out. And the best way to have fun is to drink. But drinking alcohol is not enough without cigarettes. Studies show that smoking enhances the ‘pleasure’ effects of alcohol.
6. Because they worry about their weight.
Petite models smoke. They only love two things – coffee and cigarettes. Some teens are encouraged to smoke because they think doing so would make them look like those ‘stick’ figures on the magazine. A lot of smoking teens think that if they stop smoking now, they will gain weight. This is not true. There’s very poor scientific evidence that support this belief.
7. Because they feel alone.
Many teenagers suffer from various mental health problems, including anxiety disorder and depression. Unfortunately, only a few of them are able to get professional help. Most of these teenagers resort to negative coping mechanisms, one of which is smoking. So when they feel ‘unloved’, helpless, and rejected, they find comfort in smoking.
8. Because they think cigarettes could calm them down.
A lot of people think that cigarettes have the ability to defy stress. It’s a BIG misconception. Actually, smoking aggravates a person’s stress levels and triggers the development of different illnesses.
9. Because they find smoking pleasurable.
Nicotine is addictive. The moment it is absorbed by the body, it stimulates the brain to release the feel-good chemicals that a person usually experience when eating and having sex. But the pleasure smoking brings is only temporary. One needs to have another dose of nicotine to experience the same effect. Sadly, little do they notice that it’s already killing them.
10. Because no one seems to care.
Smoking teenagers need help. They should be given enough guidance, care, and most of all – understanding. Parents, teachers and the society should work hand in hand in helping young smokers to quit, because they deserve to have a wonderful and healthy future.