Why do people start smoking in this day and age?

I’m always kind of surprised when I see young teen and twenty something celebrities smoking.

Who are they modeling their behavior on? Smoking has been a known killer for decades and it’s virtually equivalent to taking a dump in public in a lot of places, but these kids have to get the idea that smoking is really good idea somewhere.

The only non-smoking family that has a smoking kid I know of is a scenario where the kids was involved in epic amounts of pot smoking, and also had various drug abuse issues.

Where do teens get the idea that smoking is something cool to do these days?

From anti-smoking ads, mostly.

It’s less about role models now and a little more about showing their parents that they can’t be controlled 100% of the time.

Cigarettes are particularly amazing for this purpose, being relatively easy to get ahold of with little to no immediate downsides and will immensely piss off parents because of how bad they (the kid) do know how bad it is for them.

EDIT: I’ve also heard from a variety of pothead sources that smoking cigarettes while high on marijuana increases the effect and feeling of the high. I have no personal experience with this and am just letting you know what I’ve been told is an additional reason for why some people I know have started smoking. It supposedly increases a marijuana high.

A lot of their parents smoke, actually.

Just an observation from a teacher.

I’ve know of a couple of early 20s women who told me they stated smoking to control their weight

The two things that I’ve seen make my peers start smoking are going abroad to Europe, and feeling overstressed.

A lot of rock musicians smoke tobacco, also some actors that youth idolize and feel they connect with, inspires the copy-cat in them.
But I think it’s mostly the basic and same old youth-thing of trying to be cool, to feel older and more adult-like that gets them started.
(There must be an attraction strong enough to get them over the acquired taste hurdle, 'cause until you get used to it, smoldering tobacco tokes like sheep shit, burns like bat manure.)

I think movies and television could probably be added to the list, too.

I can’t stand the smell of cigarettes or pot, but I can’t deny that it looks cool (sometimes) on a screen.

The few people I know who smoke do it for the calming effect and slight buzz they get. This is also why people I know have used illegal drugs. It’s not about role models, peer pressure, or trying to look cool - it’s just about the high. That’s why I think a lot of the current methods to get people to stop using drugs are failing.

I opened the thread to say it’s to rebel, which seems a popular view.

The fad I am waiting for is teens hitting themselves on the head with hammers, because it makes their parents so crazy. Some cheezy manufacturers will start cranking out little stylized hammers, like they did pot pipes what now seems like ages ago. The hammers will be flashy in impudent ways to attract parents’ attention, and will eventually add comfort features to make their use less painful. The handles will be brightly colored so they will be noticed sticking out of the ass pockets of jeans. Schools will try to ban them, and zero tolerance policies will make shop class all but impossible to teach. Politicians will turn them into touchstones of our time.

Not that I will get diddly squat for coming up with the idea…

I know you’re being acerbic here, but “cutting” has already filled this niche, as far as I can tell. It’s no longer done just by kids who want to kill themselves, but as a hobby. My son compared it to smoking, actually - something that you know is dangerous and could kill you one of these days, but the risk of each event seems small and you get a rush from it and it drives your parents crazy. And it’s a lot easier to get hold of a knife, razor blade or compass point than it is for kids to get hold of cigarettes these days.

The smoking teens I know of took it up after beginning to hang out with their peers who smoke, even those who are children of smokers. That is, there were years when they lived with and hung out with smoking parents, but always decried smoking as something they’d never, ever do…until their peer group changed and they started hanging out with smoking peers.

Really, I think to blame teen smoking on smoking parents is a bit silly. Teens don’t start wearing Mom Jeans and socks with sandals because their parents do. Parents doing something is pretty strong motivation for teens NOT to do something, in most cases!

I loved this question because I am always so baffled to see a kid leaning against the local Subway window (near our grocery store) just puffing away. I have suspected this is a function of my age; the same thing that makes me look at young men with their pants at the bottom of their butts (having to constantly tug at them to keep them from falling down to the ground) and wonder how, in any possible way, that is cool. At least wearing pants in a ridiculous way can’t damage their health.

In my case this is partially true. That is until I started to experience severe cotton mouth from smoking pot. I stopped smoking cigs after toking up when it became unbearable. It didn’t really enhance the high so much as it made me more light-headed for a few moments. Well, that, and I really just craved nicotine when I was high. These days I smoke more cigs when I’m drinking alcohol.

I actually used weed to stop smoking for a few months. Every time I craved a cigarette, I lit up a bowl instead. Between the dry mouth and the prohibitive cost, I was tobacco free for nearly a year.

I can’t even remember why I started smoking these damn things. It was 13 years ago, I was just a stupid high school kid. Somebody offered me a smoke, and before you know it I was smoking a pack a week. All it took was a pack or two and that was it. Hooked for life.


A couple of my younger coworkers picked it up because that’s the type of crowd they’re in, the “I’m safely rebellious and smoke on my breaks but I gotta hide it when my grandma comes to pick me up” type. One kept going on and on about how she had to make herself get used to the buzz because it made her sick at first. She’s an idiot.

After all of the ads and free information available regarding the health affects of cigarettes (not to mention how stupidly expensive they are ($6 a pack?!) and the fact they make you smell like shit) I think that anyone my age or younger who decides to start is quite moronic.

I am the child of two heavy smokers who died young.
I dislike cigarettes, so does my spouse and we smugly thought we had our kids pretty well indoctrinated against the smoking habit. Silly us.

Our older son (now 27) picked up the habit as a high school senior, during a rather stormy adolescence. Aside from the rebellion thing, I think he just plain liked the soothing nicotine.
On top of this, he moved to France, where being a smoker is not quite so frowned upon.
However, time passes, people learn and change. Last year he cut down quite a bit and now only picks up a cigarette when he is at clubs and such.

Meanwhile, our younger son the health nut had never touched a cigarette until he picked up some Lucky Strikes for Halloween (he was Don Draper.)

This. I quit smoking in January, but am giving serious thought to starting again. I’m way to be old to be cool, but not too old to for increased mental acuity, less anxiety, weight loss, and stress control.

In my experience, smokers don’t smoke to be “cool”, especially these days. They smoke because cigarettes offer some benefits. Then they get addicted.

This also fulfills the goal of making your home, car, and clothes smell noxious, yellow your teeth and fingers, and possibly worst of all, give you those awful vertical wrinkles around your lips that make you look cranky when you’re hold because everyone assumes you’ve spent your life pursing your lips and frowning at fun.

Actually, I don’t smoke in my house or car. I didn’t start smoking cigs until I was 27, so I won’t have a lifetime of pursed lips. Just most of a lifetime.

I will, however, regain the immense pleasure of annoying smarmy non-smokers.

Way to miss the point.

Do you seriously think smokers don’t know this stuff? That your scorn and derision and fearmongering is going to win them over? It won’t, it just makes them want to go light a cigarette and blow it in your face. This is exactly the kind of “awareness raising” that doesn’t work on the 20% of people still smoking.

How about instead some acknowledgment that there *are *benefits to smoking, and some suggestions on how to meet those needs without smoking? Some people, for example, find they get “increased mental acuity, less anxiety, weight loss, and stress control” from short bits of exercise during the day. Maybe 10 minutes of jumping jacks would give you the benefits a cigarette does without the drawbacks. Or 10 minutes of meditation, or tickling your kids, or jumping in your car for a quick drive around the block.

Or maybe not. But at least working with smokers as rational adults, to find ways to get their needs met in healthier ways, doesn’t make a person come off like an agenda driven zealot.

It’s kind of amazing really. The place that I work for hires a lot of temps that are constantly cycling through. Mostly college or college aged kids. I see a lot of them come and go and always surprised how many smoke. Our company is 100% tobacco free on the premises but at the traffic light in front of the plant you see 'em lighting up after eight hours of nicotine deprivation.

I should add that my state is always near the top in smoking rates.