Smoking is one of the addictions which teenagers
fall prey to due to peer pressure. Read on to know how teenagers get addicted
to smoking and how to help your teenager to prevent this kind of addiction.
Smokers can find a number of excuses
just to justify their habit of smoking. When an adolescent catches up with this
habit it is more often due to peer pressure. They start with this practice just
feeling that it is a ‘cool’ or ‘in thing’ to do. Once introduced, they continue
just for the heck of it and do not realise when it transforms into an
addiction. Smoking is one of
those common activities that help them to feel as a part of the group. Then
there is also this desire to be accepted and be identified with the group.
Peer Pressure Directly Leads to Smoking
The peer group introduces a teenager to
smoking by the initial statement that it is an enjoyable experience to smoke.
Most of the times it is the desire to experience the same enjoyment that teens
take to smoking; but when the peer group finds that someone is hesitating due
to family values or rules
and restrictions imposed by the parents they begin to taunt him by saying that
he is a weak fellow who does not have the courage to try out a ‘manly thing’
just because he is not grown up enough. This is taken by personal challenge and
the teen desperately takes to it as he wants to prove himself. This is a
natural psychological reaction as teenage is a phase when the adolescent is
starting to explore the world and he wants to assert his independence.
Consequence of Smoking Under Peer Pressure
Smoking is definitely an unhealthy
habit. Nicotine has nothing going for it. It can lead to various types of
health hazards and the effect of smoking is even more pronounced for the teen
as he is still at the developmental stage. The body is therefore not fully
equipped to fight back the threats of smoking as any healthy adult body would
do, at least during the initial stages.
Apart from affecting the lungs and
the central nervous system, the deadly consequences of smoking involve risky behaviour.
This entails that the teen can easily veer towards the usage of drugs like
marijuana and cocaine. There are innumerable studies that indicate a persistent
in teens. Over 90% of the adults who are regular smokers have recorded that
they were in their early teens.
How to Prevent Peer Pressure in Smoking?
The most effective and simple way to
do this is just avoid the peer group where the members smoke. However, this may
not be a very easy choice to make. Amongst the other possible ways, the parents
need to teach and guide the child on how he can resist peer pressure in this
aspect. When the peer group is together and all the members are smoking, an
individual actually feels left out and isolated if he abstains from smoking. So
in the majority of the cases, he actually voluntarily catches up with the
habit. The parents here need to make the teen aware that although it is a fact
that people smoke but there are some seriously harmful effects of smoking on
the human body. If required, hold a session with your regular physician.
Teach the teen to be self-confident
enough to say a no when required. After all, he is entitled to take his own
decisions and no one else should decide what he should be doing and what not.
Teach the teen that there are a lot of other group activities that can provide
a similar feeling of bonding, and does not need to indulge any potentially
harmful practice for that.