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Why do people start smoking? Top 10 reasons

Why do people smoke?

Smoking has interested health organizations, governments, and non-profits since the 1980’s. This is because smoking cigarettes is associated with enormous social costs in health care and is highly addictive. According to the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids , smoking has been associated with 400,000 deaths every year in the U.S., $96B in health care costs and $97B in lost productivity costs. So, researchers started looking into ways to prevent people from smoking.

The strategy of cigarette smoking prevention has lead to many studies which attempt to identify the predictors or risk factors which lead people to smoke. We actually have quite a lot of literature on the matter! And seeing that children and teens make up the majority of all new smokers, dozens of studies have been completed which examine how and why young people start smoking. Of the hundreds of reasons why people smoke and start to smoke, we attempt here to provide you with the most well-accepted predictors of smoking here.

Top 10 reasons people start smoking

1. Family attitudes that condone smoking – Young people who start smoking in their teen years frequently have siblings, parents, grandparents or “broader family” members who smoke. The risk that a person start smoking is often higher if one or both parents smoke.

2. Peer pressure – Peer smoking is a stronger predictor of smoking onset for high school students. And the number of cigarette offers made to students can affect whether or not they become smokers, or not. Also, young people who play sports are less likely to smoke.

3. Copycatting what is cool in popular culture – Although peer and family influences have been shown to be powerful predictors of adolescent smoking, social influences also exist in the larger cultural sphere. Movies, advertisements, and other forms of media shape teen views of what is “cool,” attractive, and grown up. Therefore, some people start smoking to emulate their heroes or to embody what is chic.

4. Sociodemographic factors – The environment in which a person grows up in has an indirect but powerful influence on whether or not s/he will smoke. Young people living in or at the poverty line, with one parent who has little education are most at risk of becoming smokers.

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5. Personality traits – Internal determinants of smokers include certain inborn or nutured personality traits such as unconventionality, risk taking, thrill seeking or rebelliousness.

6. Making up for poor social or personal skills – Young people who are less socially competent, who are not trained in refusal self-efficacy, who participate in antisocial activities, who have low self-esteem or who are disengaged from school may be more attracted to smoking than those who are socially engaged and confident.

7. Smoking for weight loss – Some people start smoking because they worry about their weight and figure and smoke to try to be thinner.

8. Availability – Although it is illegal to sell tobacco products to minors and in some States smoking by minors is also illegal, cigarettes are highly available to young people. In fact, the more smokers there are who smoke around children, the more children have an opportunity to handle cigarettes and smoking accessories from an early age: they get, buy, or even light cigarettes. So, some people start smoking simply because cigarettes are around.

9. Already using other drugs – Teens who already smoke marijuana, drink alcohol, or use illicit drugs are more likely to smoke cigarettes than those who do not, perhaps due to a decreased perception of harm.

10. Stress relief – Some people initiate tobacco use because they believe that it helps them cope with personal problems or boredom.

Do you have something to add here? Or do you have a question or comment about the above? Please leave your comments below and we are happy to respond personally and promptly to each.

Reference sources: Tobacco Use Among Youth
Why children start smoking cigarettes: Predictors of onset
Can parents influence smoking?
Where do our children learn to smoke?

Leave a Reply

35 Responses to “Why do people start smoking? Top 10 reasons
David
11:14 pm June 16th, 2011

Great article… I know a lot of people that smoke to lose weight.

iKizza
12:10 am June 20th, 2011

I’m 14 and I started smoking because both my parents one of my grandparents many of my aunts and uncles and basically cause I use it as a stress release

neechan
1:22 pm August 10th, 2011

This is a must read for everyone. My husband started smoking when he was working and all of his co-workers are smoking too. It is a good thing that he already stopped a year ago.

Billy
5:05 pm October 17th, 2011

I think that poeple who smoke are stupid!

illusia
3:37 am March 17th, 2012

I started smoking when i was 17. The reason? I told my then boyfriend that if he didnt quit, i would start.Needless to say, he didnt quit. I cant put all the blame on him though, my father smoked when i was younger, my older brother smokes and my grandfather smoked…guess i wanted to be like the guys. I also found myself drawn to the mystery of cigs, i wanted to know first hand why people would start. Now im 21 and i smoke constantly, i admit it’s gross. I regret ever starting, but just because people smoke doesnt mean they are stupid, cigs are more addictive than non-smokers would think.

jasmine
5:15 pm April 3rd, 2012

most kids smoke because they want to feel free or they really dont care about there life.

11:47 am April 4th, 2012

Hi Jasmine. Thanks for sharing (honesty is always really good).

Someone once told me that every inhale from a cigarette is actually acting out a death wish. What do you think about that? Can you relate?

Chander
2:25 pm April 18th, 2012

young people start smoking mostly because of stress they have in their life like if parents get a divorce and they cant deal with it anymore but they aren’t dumb enough to commit suicide and start doing real serious drugs, and they think they will be able to quit went their life starts getting back to normal

santos
10:41 am July 3rd, 2012

hey there,i am a student of the university of Buea Cameroon.i am begging for help from anyone with a good heart and also to advice that anyone who comes across this message should take it serious cause nicotine is a very bad addiction to engage in.both my parents are suffering from these smoking addiction.they are having lungs problems and are on their dying bed.i just want help from any good heart person to offer me help in any way so that i can get them operated.thanks to anyone.

9:41 pm July 3rd, 2012

Hello santos. We are sorry to hear of your parents’ condition. We hope that they are able to experience peace during this time of transition, and that you may also.

Just Me
2:51 am September 7th, 2012

I have read everyone’s blog and can agree with just about everyone. I started smoking at the age of 11 and I am now 29 years old. My parents smoked and two of my sisters aunts uncles and grandpa. I can agree with Jasmine as well, smoking because when you are in your teens you go through a phase of thinking that you do not care about your own life and some even think of smoking as a slow suicide. I watch as my dad and grandfather suffer the effects that tobacco use has brought upon them and I know that I am not far behind. Quitting is the hard part! Stop smoking aides do not always work for everyone! Best wishes to those who are wanting to quit.

random dude.
1:06 pm September 13th, 2012

hiya, i have never smoked b4, but from what u guys hav said, it seems easy to start, not so easy to stop. hope u guys can quit.

claire heim
10:33 pm October 22nd, 2012

I started smoking this yer im 16 an i did it cause me an my mom fight constantly it seems … My dad kicked me out an it seemed ciggs wheere the only cure to my depressed self . My mom smokes an my grandma i really never thought it wuld ever come to me smoking to cure my problems but it is . an i do it daily i can smoke half a pack it seems in 3 hours … Its terrible but in a way i dont want to quite but then i do …

8:42 am October 24th, 2012

Hi Claire. Thanks for sharing a little bit about what it’s like for you. It sounds like you are “mirroring” the smoking habits of your mom and grandmother, which is actually quite common. If you don’t like smoking and want to stop, you can reach out to a tobacco cessation telephone hotline in your area and talk with someone about what to do.

Ken
9:29 pm January 5th, 2013

I have smoked for most of my adult life and made a decision to quit smoking this past year after going through Clinical Hypnotherapy training. Starting in May, 2012, I’ve had 2 personal hypnotherapy sessions and listened consistently to my self-hypnosis CD’s and to date, I’ve managed to quit smoking two packs of cigarettes a day and lose more than 50 pounds at the same time. I’m proud of the accomplishments and I’m now trying to help others do the same. It can be done more easily than you think if you’re motivated to do it… I know because I’ve done it. :)

ogunleye
8:13 am July 30th, 2014

Is igorance part of the reasons

Natasha
1:53 am September 16th, 2014

Smokers always think everything about it is so cool when it’s actually horrible, don’t they?

4:06 pm September 16th, 2014

Hello Natasha. You made a good remark. I’ve noticed this also and I think it’s the result of the commercials that used to promote smoking back at the time. You know, the way it was represented as cool and as a status symbol…

smOker
4:11 pm December 14th, 2014

I started smoking cigrets because iv always wanted to try it

Tony
11:44 am January 1st, 2015

Some people initiate tobacco use because they believe that it helps them cope with personal problems or boredom. I agree with you.

Tony
8:56 am January 14th, 2015

These are the facts to start smoking.

Robert
3:09 pm February 22nd, 2015

I was addicted to rolled cigarettes, especially it called “kretek” made in Indonesia. I really enjoyed it taste and I still can not move to the filtered ones. But most importantly, I always smoke alone without anyone else around me.

anon
6:59 pm June 11th, 2015

thank you for this article. those reasons are, i don’t know, reasonable i think?

Bob
9:35 pm January 10th, 2016

People who smoke are not cool, they look like idiots.

mickey103
4:31 am January 24th, 2016

Find The.Luciferian.Doctrine.pdf
#2.2 talks specifically about addiction & breaking it…

Cambria
3:44 am March 10th, 2016

Thanks for the info, but not quite what i’m looking for for my poster project.

fzr
12:31 pm April 12th, 2016

I think that people who smoke do not care for their well proportioned body
we got an extraordinary body we must USE IT WELL

hola123
9:29 pm June 12th, 2016

In these days smoking is a big problem. We have more and more people who are addicted to cigarettes and other dangerous substances. I think the government and special organizations should prevent people from starting smoke, because it’s better to counteract than cure. Our health is more important than our weight. Cigarette smoke and tobacco only destroy our bodies. It’s also necessary to teach young people about consequences and bad influence of smoking. On the other hand – people have to deal with problems, stress and lack of confident without cigarettes, because cigarettes couldn’t solve all the troubles.

Michael
8:40 pm June 16th, 2016

I am a non smoker but it seems to me you missed the most significant reason people start smoking. They are curious about what sort of pleasure or sensation it supplies!

Ghulam
9:19 am June 25th, 2016

It gives good lesson for smokers

bonnie
11:04 am July 10th, 2016

never started. it looked stupid, the people who smoked looked and acted stupid,a dependency is a weakness.expensive,unhealthy,makes me choke,smells bad.bad breath, when someone says it takes e stress away i hide their smokes and watch them act like they will kill for a smoke.i film them and show co-workers,friends and families.i have got.too much to live for.

Paul
12:21 am July 13th, 2016

I tryed smoking a cigarette but I wasn’t able to smoke I tryed but nah

sheila
7:59 pm August 7th, 2016

Based on the article and then reading some of the comments on this thread, I’d have to agree that low intelligence is likely a great indicator of why someone would start smoking. Yikes.

sasha
4:52 pm September 13th, 2016

some say they smoke for relieving their stress .what kind of a stress reliever is this ? and how does it even relieve stress . also any people in their teens think its cool and everyone smokes that is totally wrong cause the fun they have now is what they are going to regret later .

taylor
10:23 pm November 16th, 2016

kids smoke because they want to seem older

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