Very few smokers begin after the age of eighteen. Most smokers start in their early or mid-teens.
Often, people don’t consider the dangers of smoking and the possibility that it will develop from a pastime to an addiction.
The truth is that one can become addicted to nicotine within a very short time. Smokers regardless of age will develop the same dependence on nicotine and suffer the same withdraw symptoms if they attempt to quit.
There are several reasons why we smoke:
- The most immediate reason is peer pressure. Many begin smoking because friends tried it or are already smokers.
- Some start because they grow up around smoking parents, grandparents and siblings. They begin smoking to fit in with the rest of their family.
- Others smoke to rebel against their family or other authorities.
- Some may also begin to smoke if they have low self-esteem. Smoking may help them make friends and be accepted. The feeling is that if they smoke, then they will be accepted by their peers.
- Some have said that they smoke to appear older, especially if they are surrounded by younger adults who smoke.
- There are those who experiment with smoking. They want to try it so they can say that they have done so. Many countries prohibited smoking until the age of 18. Under these circumstances, those who can smoke and get away with it without being caught or punished may get a rush, thrill or feeling of excitement out of breaking the law and engaging in an adult activity.
- Cigarette advertising can profoundly influence youngsters. Advertisements can make smokers seem attractive, cool, and confident. All of this makes smoking extremely appealing. Because of this undue influence, cigarette advertising is forbidden in some countries, like the U.S. In other countries, tobacco companies are being heavily restricted in how and where they can advertise. In some countries, cigarettes ads are illegal on billboards, TV, radio, magazines, newspapers, buses, trains, or other public places.
One thing is for sure about those who begin smoking. Whatever the reason they start, they will likely stop only when they are ready.
Why Do People Continue To Smoke?
- Many people believe that cigarettes help them cope with stress or pressure. The truth is that nicotine is a stimulant that will heighten, not lessen, emotional duress.
- Other smokers say that their habit relaxes them. However, most activities accompanied by smoking are such that they should be relaxing on their own.
- Smokers who live with a relative who smoke will have a harder time quitting than those who don’t live with smokers.
- Many women fear quitting because they are concerned that they will gain weight when they stop. What they are forgetting is that if they quit smoking, they will feel better and have more energy. Giving them the motivation to start eating better and exercise more.
- Many people smoke out of habit, not because they want to smoke, but because it has become associated with other activities. These activities include:
- Talking on the phone
- Watching TV
- Before starting work
- During a break
- Before and after meals
- Before bedtime
- Some people smoke because they are experiencing boredom or loneliness. These people would be better served by keeping busy.
Regardless of the reasons people begin to smoke, most people become addicted after a short period, and continue to smoke for an extended period, if not for the rest of their lives.
Studies have shown that more than 50% of smokers want to quit and would give up if they felt that they could just stay away from nicotine.
It should be apparent that most people continue to smoke due to nicotine addiction. The effort required not to smoke would require a large amount of willpower, a great deal of support, while some would benefit from medical and psychological advice.