Why do people start smoking? With all the known health risks that smokers face, staying away from cigarettes should be the simplest thing in the world, right? For teens, the answer is often "No."
There are many reasons people start smoking, and those reasons are known only to each individual person, but the biggest reason people start smoking is because of peer pressure. Often, a smoker starts in her teens because her friends smoke. The teenage years are an impressionable time. Teens want to experiment with things they see adults and other teens doing, including sex, drugs, alcohol and smoking. Sometimes the peer pressure may be direct, as when close friends are smoking and encourage your teen to smoke. Sometimes, the peer pressure may be indirect. Your teen sees kids that she thinks are cool or popular smoking, and believes that smoking will make her look cool or fit in.
Fighting Peer Pressure
Parents can help keep teens from succumbing to the pressures of others by explaining that there is nothing wrong with being different and by describing the myriad of health problems that can be caused by a teen's smoking. When you're disussing sex with your teen, be sure to bring up smoking, which can cause an elevated risk of heart disease in women who use birth control and a higher risk of impotence in men.
People may also start smoking in their older years. While an adult knows the ramifications of smoking, he may not care about them when he takes up smoking, or he may rationalize the behavior by saying that a few cigarettes won't hurt. Once the habit has been acquired, it is difficult to break.
A person may have a spouse that smokes or may have smoked in his younger years, so he starts smoking, thinking it might relieve the stress of everyday life. While smoking does relieve stress in the short term, in does long-term damage that can lead to life-threatening illnesses. Habitual smokers need to increase their habit to feel the same effects, which only magnifies the damage done to the body.
The best advice for anyone, teen or adult, is to stay away from cigarettes. Parents who smoke should quit, to set a good example for their children. Teens who smoke should get involved in a stop-smoking program if they can't quit on their own. Once nicotine addiction sets in, people who started smoking to relieve stress or to fit in often find that they cannot stop.
If you're a teen who smokes, the time to stop smoking is now, before it becomes an ingraned habit. These tips will help you fight the cravings and work toward a smoke-free life.
Discussing the long-term dangers of smoking often fails to impress teens, so parents need to focus on the immediate and short-term health risks.
Teens might not see lung cancer or heart disease as an immediate threat, but how else does smoking affect the lungs? Even a few cigarettes a week could lead to long-term damage.