Why Teenagers Smoke Despite the Obvious Warnings Against It
Teenage smoking has become a big problem in the United States as well as the rest of the world. Once kids start smoking, they cannot stop because of the physical and mental addiction. Throughout our lives, we hear many warnings from authority figures and the media. Despite the obvious risks involved, kids still choose to smoke. The biggest influences on teenagers are peer pressure, media and advertising, and adult influence.
One of the biggest factors of why kids smoke is peer pressure. Many reasons attribute to peer pressure. 4 out of 5 teenagers smoke their first cigarette with their friends (Lang 28). All teens want to enhance their image somehow. Whether it is to make them seem "tougher" or just look cooler, it's important to them. It can also be attributed to the way they perceive themselves. Researches say that teens say smoking can help depression, anxiety and low self-esteem.
They feel that it is a way to "self-medicate" themselves. In their mind, it makes them feel like they are adults. Another reason why teens smoke is to make them feel like they are a part of a group. They see their friends smoke and want to join them. At parties, smokers gather in the same area, share lighters, and shoot the breeze as if they belong to some sort of club. Its like they feel they are missing out on something special if they don't. The difficulty to say no is the biggest reason. To say no to their friends is like a rejecting them. 9 out of 10 kids had said that their friends were the biggest factor on their decision to try that first cigarette (Penn 64). Besides friends, kids look at adults too.
Adult influence and rebellion...