Smoking is such a disgusting, repulsive habit that I literally cannot stand. This post is not to say that Smokers themselves are bad people, because I genuinely don’t believe that they are. This post is to highlight how bad the habit is.
In the UK, over 10 MILLION people smoke, and sadly, 200,000 children between the ages on 11 and 15 smoke too. Two thirds of smokers start smoking before 18 and are totally hooked by the time they become fully grown adults. (ASH.org.uk, 2014)
A lot of young people smoke nowadays, which is something I say full of regret. There is this brand-new phenomenon called ‘social smoking’, which is where (and I quote) you don’t really smoke but if you’re with your friends and they’re smoking, then you’ll smoke. Is it only me who finds that stupidly immature and amazingly ridiculous? If you’re going to smoke, smoke because you want to, not because your friend asked you too (not that you should smoke, anyway).
This phenomenon has swept the nation, causing smoking areas to be added to colleges (which I am also against, by the way). It feels like these students are practically back at primary school where the popular girl or boy says everyone should wear a red scarf or says everyone shouldn’t play with someone and everyone listens, because they were all mindless sheep (Sorry but that’s how my primary and high school experiences were, I don’t know about you guys). It is ridiculous.
In all seriousness, peer pressure can really be a huge battle to fight against. You can feel different and isolated when you don’t smoke, especially if all your friends do. This can feel terrible, there is no denying that, but seriously, peer pressure is no excuse. Every year, 100,000 smokers die due to their addiction (ASH.org.uk, 2014). Sorry to be blunt, but you will NOT take your friend who introduced you to smoking with you to the grave. You’ll just take yourself.
Cigarettes don’t taste nice (I’m totally guessing because I have NEVER tried one and I don’t plan on trying one), so the reason for trying one and starting the habit is because someone first offered you one and you thought, “ooh better accept it because I don’t want to look like a loser. It’s only one ciggie and Mum isn’t here so she’ll never know.” My smoking friends have never been brave enough to try and offer me a cigarette because they know I’d probably stuff it up their nose. But, I do understand how tempting this may seem to someone who is totally reliant on what people think about them. Fair enough. I just want you to believe me entirely when I say, your real friends would respect you even if you choose to not smoke with them. If they make you feel downgraded because you don’t join them, they are not real friends. Period.
How do you guys even afford it? I’ve always wondered that. I used to know this girl who was so addicted to smoking that she would steal money from her mum’s purse. Then she got to the age where she could work, and began looking for a job so she could fuel her addition. Crazy. Just obsessive.
My tip to not falling for the craze of smoking is to be sure of yourself. If you say to yourself, “I won’t smoke.” then no one can make you smoke (unless they stuffed it in your mouth, then I would call the police because I’m pretty sure that is called assault). But to help yourself, trying and stay away from areas where everyone around you is smoking. You become a second-hand smoker (don’t even get me started on second hand smoking! I hate when everyone is blowing smoke in your face, like ‘mate, if I wanted to smoke and kill myself with you, I would have asked!’). Just don’t put yourself in the situation where you feel pushed to do something you don’t want to do, and don’t put yourself in the scene where you look abnormal because you aren’t doing what everyone else is doing. Just don’t do that to yourself.
Random question: is it true that smoking can turn your lips black? *gags*
I hope you enjoyed reading this post. I wrote this because someone asked me how I managed to not give in to peer pressure and join the large smokers community based at my college. I tried to make it funny (well, I wouldn’t say tried. I just am, lol) because it’s such a serious topic that talking about it makes it seem like I’m ranting and deliberately attacking people who smoke, because I really am not. I am so passionate about young people and it hurts to see young people literally cutting their lives in half because of a 10cm stick. It really hurts. So take this as advice and inspiration and not as rebuke.