Other tobacco products like pipes, hookahs, smokeless tobacco, or bidis—are also commonly used by ‘Modern teen’ worldwide. India is the second most populous country in the world and the third largest producer and consumer of tobacco. In India, an estimated 65% of all men and 33% of all women use some form of tobacco. According to National Family Health Survey-3, 57% of men and 11% of women use tobacco in some form. Most regular smokers initiate smoking before 20 years of age. Youth may have several reasons for starting tobacco use, including looking ‘cool’, ‘mature’, or ‘sociable’, or believing that tobacco use is good for coping with stress and weight control.
Spanning 900-plus people in four metropolises - Delhi, Bangalore, Kolkata and Mumbai, the study conducted on smoking by GFK Mode notes that 82% of respondents view smoking as a trend among youngsters. A staggering 87% of smokers are influenced by friends and peers, whereas 31% say they opted for the cancer stick to beat work-related stress.
Let’s bring out the top 4 simple reasons why teenagers smoke:
Reason 1: It’s a great conversation starter
A lot of young smokers usually start a conversation with a stranger asking for a light. Especially in parties it helps many smokers to build a healthy and long conversation with strangers or friends. Since the number of women smokers has increased, smoking for men is a conversation starter. In a way, it’s a bonding activity that makes it easier to talk with others who are smoking. But it is actually a way of hiding under-confidence. Working on confidence enhancing initiatives that help your personal growth as well as career growth is better than spoiling health.
Reason 2: It’s a great stress reliever
Am sure most of us have heard a smoker-friend say, “I am stressed and tired!! I need a smoke break.” This is because as it is taking a break from anything helps settle the nerves. Generally, most smokers think smoking relaxes their nerves. There is no confirmation that nicotine decreases anxiety or tension, it only serves as a stress reliever on a psychological note.
Reason 3: Thinking it’s cool and kills boredom:
There are many people, especially the young smokers who smoke just to look cool in front of their friends and also sometimes to kill boredom. Most smokers compulsively feel the need to have a smoke while walking or driving or doing anything which is considered boring. Usually, smokers end up puffing on a cigarette to do something stimulating as compared to non-smokers. Someone once said, “When I see a smoker, I see a light at one end and a fool at the other”.
Reason 4: To control their weight
For some teenagers smoking help in weight loss. They will use being overweight as an excuse to smoke. Instead of eating, many teenagers, especially girls, will choose to smoke a cigarette. This keeps their minds off from food. Some of the teenagers think that smoking can help them achieve the look they want. They learn about this weight control methods mostly from their friends, so they start skipping meals and use cigarettes to replace the meal. Smoking does kill craving for food, but it does not help to lose weight as many think. Again, there are much better ways of losing weight like exercising that have many positive effects on your body as well as the mind.
We all know that smoking is injurious to health, but the addiction to Nicotine keeps smokers coming back for more. Smoking daily takes a toll on your body. Smokers are more susceptible to many life-threatening conditions such as cancer, lung disease, heart disease, etc. Cigarette smoking is more toxic to women than men because they have smaller lungs. The youth should validate their choices before picking up on any addiction.