The Tobacco Temptation
CEBU, Philippines — Smoking is such a widespread problem, prompting the government to prohibit it in all public places throughout the country. It is so common an issue that everybody has come to understand the word “smoking” to mean “smoking tobacco.” Smoking is a major public health problem, posing health risks not only for the smokers themselves but also for others around when the smokers smoke.
Smoking, thus, has become a negative idea, act or habit. Most people, including smokers themselves, would attest that it is a bad thing. Curiously, while smoking is generally perceived to be a bad thing, many people continue to fall into the habit.
The effects of tobacco smoke on people’s health are dreadful. The medical establishment has long proven that smoking causes lung cancer, among many other serious ailments. More and more governments all over the world are responding by banning smoking in public places.
And yet, cigarettes continue to be widely available and fairly inexpensive to buy. Smoking cigarettes is not a luxury only for the moneyed. It is a product that is widely attainable by most people, even by very young people with yet no income of their own.
It is very common to see people smoking. Seeing smokers around is a part of everyone’s everyday life. It is something that is very difficult to escape from – there are reportedly over one thousand million smokers throughout the world.
Perhaps, instead of sneering at or condemning smokers outright, it helps to try to understand why people smoke in the first place. What attracts one to the habit? What prompts one to smoke?
Most smokers start the habit early, at about their mid-teens in general. At such a young age, the kids don't really think about the health risks of smoking. What with bodies that are fit and in the prime of health.
And the kids certainly do not realize how addictive smoking can be. They probably intend to only try smoking a few times and then keep it or leave it. The reality, however, is that it doesn't take long to become addicted to nicotine and smoking. Within a short period of time, kids can experience the same cravings and withdrawal symptoms as do adults, as well as smoke as many cigarettes or more.
The website www.helpwithsmoking.com cites several reasons why children or teenagers give in to the tobacco temptation. It says peer pressure plays an important part. Many children start smoking because their friends have tried it. Especially with children who have low self-esteem, smoking may get them in with the "in crowd" and help them to make friends. If they smoke, then they will be accepted by their peers, who also smoke.
The www.helpwithsmoking.com states that many children who start to smoke have grown up in an environment where older family members smoke, and so they smoke in order to look and act like dad or mom or big brother or sister. It is common for children to want to appear older and more grown up. Or it can be the opposite: Children smoke as an act of rebellion or defiance of their parents’ warning against smoking.
Curiosity is a significant factor, too. Some children may initially experiment with smoking just to try it to see what all the fuss is about. As smoking is likely to be prohibited at home and at school, children who smoke and get away with it without being caught get a thrill or feeling of excitement.
Celebrities can be an influence as well. Some teenagers smoke to mimic their favorite film star or pop star who smokes. They feel that smoking puts them in their favorite idols’ league.
Cigarette advertising has also been found to entice young people into the habit. Cigarette advertisements give the impression that smoking is sociable. Of course, cigarette companies deny this.
Children who start the smoking habit are most likely to carry it into their adulthood. Apart from the fact that nicotine is highly addictive, which makes it really difficult to give up, many adults have their own reasons for continuing to smoke. They think that they need cigarettes in order to cope with stress or nerves.
But truth is, nicotine is a stimulant. It makes the heart beat faster and raises blood pressure. So, in fact, smoking does not really relax the smoker or help one cope with unpleasant situations.
Some women smoke believing it helps them in weight management. They’re missing the point that once they stop smoking, they’ll be much fitter and have much more energy. And that could motivate them into taking up some form of exercise program or joining a gym.
Smokers may cite all sorts of reasons to defend their habit. But bottom line, those so-called ‘benefits’ are nothing compared to the possible negative effects of smoking. Smoking is just too much risk for too little ‘returns’.