Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Blame it on Peer Pressure

Why do young people smoke cigarettes? Anyone remember doing this in school (learning about smoking not actually smoking) and you'd have to come up with a bunch of reasons why young people start smoking? And the big answer is always peer pressure? And that apparently "youth smoking is a growing problem" even though the number of young people smoking has actually been decreasing for years?

I remember thinking it a bit weird that apparently peer pressure is the biggest reason young people smoke cigarettes, 'cos I had never felt pressured to. When I was exposed to my peers smoking it wasn't really a bother. No one pressured me into doing it. By that point everyone knew how bad it was for you, so those who smoked would almost commend those of us who refused. But still, apparently peer pressure was the biggest reason for people my age to start.

Obviously generations before us didn't know how bad smoking was for your health, and maybe for them peer pressure was a bigger thing than it is now. Now I would say the bigger issues are pressures coming from society in general, and actually your peers don't have as much power to pressure you as the media does. How can anyone blame kids for smoking when it is being shoved in their faces as a normal habit from films etc?

There was also always a horrible judgement around kids smoking. Yes obviously it's bad, but here were the teachers preaching about peer pressure and black lungs, while probably half of them teaching this were smokers themselves.

I don't know if they still do this in schools? When are adults going to stop blaming children for being little shits and accept the responsibility that the children reflect exactly what they learn from adults? Children who live with parents or siblings who smoke are up to three times more likely to end up smoking themselves, compared to children who live with non-smokers. Still peer pressure? The advice we got was to stand up to our peers and say no! Why shouldn't the parents who smoke be taking responsibility to make sure their own children don't end up smoking too? How can you blame other children for pressuring your child into smoking while you are exposing them to second hand smoke every day?

This might be totally uninteresting to you, I don't even know why I remembered it but I just know a lot of people have their facts wrong when it comes to young people smoking. It's NOT a growing problem and it's NOT mostly down to peer pressure. I probably could have said this in a tweet but I just fancied writing about it. I got figures from this link, which has more info if you're interested in further reading, including a bit about children and second hand smoke. Let me know your thoughts.

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