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.


  1. Actually I wouldn't say it was about peer pressure for older generations. In fact doctors, dentists yet alone all the advertisements all stressed the medical benefits of smoking with claims that it helps digestion to your soothing your throat and ease coughs. Nor do I think it's all about the fault of the parents either, more the price and ease of getting cigarettes, the media and advertising.

  2. That's a really good point - I totally forgot to include that but you're so right! It was thought to be good for your health, mad when you think about what we know today. I guess it is easy to to get them, I wouldn't know about price because I've never smoked but my friends complain how expensive it is, clearly not expensive enough to quit! The stats do show how much more likely children are to smoke if their parents smoke and I really agree with that, especially people who end up being long term smokers.

  3. I think people will smoke if they want to smoke. I knew kids who smoked, those that didn't, half my family are smokers but yet the other half are not. Dare I say it, but I think kids will be kids and it's something you see others do and it's something many kids think they'll try. Myself, been there, tried it, didn't like it, other do like it and then that's the smoking habit started.

    Parents can probably only do so much to stop a child smoking. They can tell them it's bad for your health and all that, but TV can do that and so can school. But, kids, well some of them are just stupid and others just don't care.

    I see so many more children smoking here in Belgium, than I have ever done in the UK, especially since we raised the smoking age to 18. Smoking costs about a 1/4 of what it does in the UK, they still haven't banned it in public places and so it's everywhere. It's almost like the children can actually afford to smoke here!

  4. I tried it too and hated it, still hate the smell of it makes me gag! You're right, I do think most people try it, you get to the age where you realise that one toke isn't going to kill you (hopefully). I agree but I think if the parents smoke and are seen to be smoking often by their child then no matter if they try to encourage their child not to smoke, the child is more likely to become a smoker too. More like a regular smoker, not just try it once. It obviously doesn't apply to everyone ever whose had a parent that smoked I just found these statistics interesting, and how much risk children are put at from second hand smoke from their parents smoking!

    Yeh that's not hard to imagine, I don't see many young people smoking now anyway, which was another thing that made me wonder if they still made a huge deal of it at school 'cos they did when I was young!

    Wish I was as rich as those kids.