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How Does One Become A Smoker?

Aug 17, 2007
Nobody becomes a smoker as a result of will power. In fact it is the other way round. Can you imagine somebody as a child making up his or her mind that when he or she grows up he or she will become a chain smoker determined to smoke at least 30 cigarettes a day? Nobody in his or her normal senses would do that.

Then why do so many people become smokers? Let us sit and think about it for a minute. Of course there are a lot of other reasons like the ones I have listed below but I would like to pin point to one specific reason, which I have added, at the end of the list.

Many, in fact most people become smokers as a result of an experiment. What often starts as an experiment becomes an experience and before they know it, it becomes a pattern. So let us examine some of the factors that contribute towards making a person a smoker, chain or other wise.

Peer pressure. One bad apple is enough to make a whole barrel of apples bad. And during the age of thoughtless youth (most people develop the habit before the age of 25) every one is ready to take up a dare. So when peers compel others to take a puff, one just has to take a puff or else face the danger of being branded as "chicken" or "goody-two-shoes".

Availability. Cigarettes are available every where and almost any body can get them and that is one major factor that contributes to the development of the habit. Another reason is that cigarettes are so damn cheap!

Aping. Movie stars and other celebrities who smoke look so cool, and this is more than enough reason for youngsters to start smoking just to copy their matinee idol.

The Feel Good Syndrome. Cigarettes are often identified with the "cool factor" and so it is a great way to impress others if you can delicately balance the cigarette between two of your fingers and blow up a puff of smoke while you are in your friends' circle.

Stress busters. Cigarettes are often wrongly identified as stress busters and one of the best ways of driving away sleep. So when we see others resorting to the habit, we are tempted and even coaxed into taking a puff. If one parent smokes there is a 25% chance that the child too will grow up into a smoker. If both parents smoke, there is a 75% chance that the child will become a smoker.

Attitude. This is a good one, but strangely enough this cause is seldom identified as one of the reasons for picking up the habit. One thing about most of us is that there is a rebellious strain in all of us. There is something in us that generates an urge to protest against existing rules and norms and during our teenage, what better way to express our defiance than by sporting a lighted cigarette between our fingers or lips.

Wet Paint.

It is not just some thing about smoking. It is a general tendency of every human being. The moment some body tells us not to do something a strong feeling develops in us to do the very thing that we were asked not to do. If you want to understand what I mean, just consider how people really want to touch and get the wet paint on their hands in spite of a big sign that says "wet paint".

Cigarette smoking may be dangerous to health but just how dangerous is something that we have to convince ourselves about. But the sorry fact is that unlike wet paint, we just can't wash of the effects of smoking with water or turpentine. Nor do the effects fade over time, they just worsen. Smoking is not something that we can experiment with. You just can't take a risk like smoke for a couple of years and say, "look guys, I survived." It is a matter of life and death.
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