Smoking – The Actual Reasons for Starting





Those who start smoking young are more likely to have a long-term addiction to nicotine than people who start smoking later in life.

As the saying goes, “Hindsight is 20/20 vision.” Most people who smoke wish they had never started. If you were able to go back in time to when you first tried a cigarette, what would you do? Chances are good that you wouldn’t even take one single puff.

While you can’t physically go back in time, you can go back mentally and try to remember why you started to smoke. Do you remember your very first cigarette? Who were you with? Was it with a group of friends or perhaps an older brother or sister? Most people who smoke got their first few cigarettes from an older sibling or from friends.

What did it feel like to smoke that first cigarette? Aside from feeling nauseated, you probably felt pretty cool. How did you like to inhale your cigarette? Did you practice holding it in front of a mirror until you got it right? Were you conjuring up an image as you smoked? Where did that image come from?

And why did you continue to smoke if it made you feel so ill? You wouldn’t continue to eat a type of food if it made you feel the same way. What motivated you to keep on smoking?

If you are like the vast majority of people who smoke, the reasons were peer pressure and image. But where exactly did you get the idea that smoking was such a cool thing to do? Let’s take a look at the most likely culprit.

Peer Pressure

Peer pressure is one of the most influential forces acting on adolescents – and it’s during adolescence that most people pick up their first cigarette. Peer pressure can be good, as when it encourages you to try harder in sports or at school, or peer pressure can be bad, as when it encourages you to do something that you really don’t want to do.

Peer pressure most likely influenced your decision to smoke in the first place. Maybe it was wanting to be included in a group of friends, or maybe it was the influence of movie stars that you admired. Whatever the reason, there is a good chance that peer pressure got you started on the road to nicotine addiction.

Availability

Cigarettes are available every where and almost any body can get them and that is one major factor that contributes to the development of the habit. Another reason is that cigarettes are so damn cheap!

Aping


Movie stars and other celebrities who smoke look so cool, and this is more than enough reason for youngsters to start smoking just to copy their matinee idol.

The Feel Good Syndrome

Cigarettes are often identified with the “cool factor” and so it is a great way to impress others if you can delicately balance the cigarette between two of your fingers and blow up a puff of smoke while you are in your friends’ circle.

Stress busters

Cigarettes are often wrongly identified as stress busters and one of the best ways of driving away sleep. So when we see others resorting to the habit, we are tempted and even coaxed into taking a puff. If one parent smokes there is a 25% chance that the child too will grow up into a smoker. If both parents smoke, there is a 75% chance that the child will become a smoker.

Attitude

This is a good one, but strangely enough this cause is seldom identified as one of the reasons for picking up the habit. One thing about most of us is that there is a rebellious strain in all of us. There is something in us that generates an urge to protest against existing rules and norms and during our teenage, what better way to express our defiance than by sporting a lighted cigarette between our fingers or lips.

Advertising

No doubt advertising played a key role in defining your image of what it meant to be a smoke – and that image was elegant, or rugged, or sexy, or all three and more. Creating a positive image for smokers has always been big business to tobacco companies.

Early on, they recognized that a person’s image of how he or she wants to be perceived could affect what brand of tobacco he or she bought. Think about the typical cigarette ad in a magazine or on a billboard.

What are some of the images these advertisements are trying to create? Do they show people coughing up their lungs or do they show people doing fun activities? How else could you get people to use such a dangerous product?

Some of the best images ever created are the Marlboro Man and Joe Camel. These guys are always seen doing cool things like roping cattle or driving fancy cars. Unfortunately, the original Marlboro man developed lung cancer (Smoking and Lung Cancer) and toward the end of his life was advising young people not to smoke.

As for Joe Camel, he was found to be part of an advertisement campaign directed toward kids and as of 1998 has been banned from the United States.

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