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 addiction 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.
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