teen smokingIt wasn’t all that long ago, in living memory for a lot of people, that smoking was seen as glamorous and even healthy. Phrases like “More doctors smoke camel than any other brand” or “blow in her face and she will follow you anywhere” and “As your dentist I would recommend Viceroys” were all too common. Health practitioners, Celebrities and even athletes promoted cigarettes and smoking as a healthy lifestyle choice who today promote the very opposite. Despite the healthy lifestyle, anti-smoking messages we still have a huge number of smokers who are under the age of 25 and even as you read this one new smoker is smoking his or her first cigarette of many, it is a sad and very real fact.

One would think with all the proof and medical evidence that cigarettes are killers and the exorbitant prices with increased sin taxes on tobacco products that smoking would have died out long ago. It does not seem to be so and more young people take up the addictive habit every year. Somewhere and for some reason smoking is still seen as cool and the bad boy image in guys and some strange assumption that smoking is sexy in girls hasn’t changed since the days of early cigarette advertising. So what is the attraction?

Nobody can truly say that they took to smoking because it was a nice thing; it tasted nice and smelt nice. Cigarettes do not taste nice, most people cough and splutter on their very first cigarette and for some reason are encouraged to try another and even stranger than that they want to see if they can smoke it and enjoy it, something just isn’t quite right.

Smoking still looks cool to some people but the tough guy image is not what it used to be, inside the person smoking knows they need to quit but they have become addicted to the nicotine. The advertising and speech about the detrimental health side of cigarettes is well known, the smokers know it and adolescent smokers know it better than anyone else but still they smoke and even claim to enjoy it.

But what makes a young person smoke?

The answer is generally not very far from home. If a young person has been brought up in a home of smokers the chance of them smoking is high. Cigarettes are at first sometimes stolen, one from an open packet knowing that mom, dad or big brother won’t notice and they smoke by experimentation. It doesn’t take a lot to get addicted, nicotine is like that and soon these smokers move from the odd cigarette to a couple a day and before they know it they have spent pocket money or other money on smokes.

Peer pressure is still huge around smoking. Because the health risk there is something just a little edgy and taboo about smoking and there is a rush that can only be felt when young. That first cigarette, shared with friends could be the one that gets you hooked on a habit that could kill you and will almost certainly divert finance away from other areas of life. Smoking could drive away friends and could see you as an outcast in a generation of people who know just how bad smoking is.

How bad is the problem, what does smoking do to a person and how does one stop? That we will try to answer soon.