The questions that arise in mind, even with the alarming stats we see about smoking: Why do people smoke in the first place? And why don’t people quit smoking even after they are aware of its hazardous effects to themselves as well as to others? After all, all cigarette packets have SMOKING IS INJURIOUS TO HEALTH inscribed onto them. Can smokers quit smoking and if so, how?
Just as diagnosis is the first step towards the treatment of cancer or, for that matter any disease, so also it is important to identify the causal factors behind smoking so as to cure this harmful practice from the root. Given below are some of the common reasons as to why people start smoking.
1.Childhood environment: People who have grown up in an environment where their parents, grandparents or older siblings smoke, consider smoking to be a part of life just like any other activity. They think that there is nothing odd or wrong or harmful with smoking.
2. Imitating role models: A lot of people, especially teenagers take to smoking simply because their favourite sport star or film star does so. They believe that imitating their favourite idol will make them appear more glamorous, attractive and cool.
3. An act of rebellion: At times, children (even many youngsters) start smoking as an act of rebellion or defiance against their parents or people of authority.
4. A desire to appear matured: Some children take to smoking to appear older and more grown up, especially if they are surrounded by young adults who smoke.
5. Peer pressure: Peer pressure compels many people to smoke. They believe that their friends will accept them only if they join them in smoking.
6. Stress: People smoke when they are stressed up. In today’s techno-savvy world where human beings are considered to be machines in their job sectors, smoking has become an effective means of relaxation & distressing.
7. Loneliness: People smoke if they are bored or lonely and have nothing to do or no one to share their joys & sorrows with. Their cigarette is their companion in their loneliness.
8. Depression: People smoke when they are sad or worried or have a low self-esteem or have a negative approach towards life.
9. A symbol of masculinity: Some men smoke so as to prove that they are macho men.
10. Gender equality: Some women smoke (besides other factors) so as to prove that there is no difference between men & women. Women are no less than men.
11. Mere experimentation: A number of children start smoking as experimentation. They just want to try it to see what the fuss is all about.
Why do people continue smoking?
People never stop their bad habits even if they are aware of the adverse effects of it. They continue their habits. Last time we saw ‘why people smoke?’ And today we are going to see that ‘why do people continue smoking?’The reasons are given as follows:
- One of the major reasons why people continue smoking is that nicotine is highly addictive. This makes it really difficult for them to give up smoking.
- A lot of people think that they need cigarettes in order to cope with stress. However, nicotine is a stimulant; it makes the heart beat faster and raises the blood So in fact, smoking does not really relax people at all or help them cope with unpleasant situations.
- People probably think that smoking relaxes them, when in reality, smoking a cigarette, just stops the withdrawal symptoms that have started appearing after not having one for a while.
- Living with a family member or partner who smokes makes it much harder to quit, even though the person may really want to.
- Many women are afraid of giving up smoking as they think that they will gain a huge amount of weight when they stop.
- A lot of people are so used to smoking that they do it out of habit and they don’t even really want a cigarette. For example, a person may light up a cigarette when he does certain activities in particular, such as talking on the phone, reading the paper or watching television.
- As with the younger generation, smoking may be a way of staying with their friends’ group or making new friends.
Whatever the reasons, when people start smoking in the first place, the majority of them quickly become addicted and continue to smoke for a long period of time. Some manage to quit, probably after many unsuccessful attempts, whilst others continue to smoke for the rest of their lives, however long or short that may be. It is a fact however, that over 50% of smokers wish that they didn’t smoke. Therefore, it should be apparent that most people smoke because they are addicted to nicotine. For them, not to smoke would need an immense amount of willpower, a huge amount of support from family and friends and for some, expert medical advice and help.