When I first started smoking in high school, I thought it was the coolest thing to do. Taking a drag made me feel mature and older. All the cool kids did it, so why shouldn’t I, right?
That’s pretty much how everyone starts out. Someone you admire and look up to smokes, and naturally you want to be like them, so you decide to start experimenting.
It happens to millions of people, and it happened to me.
It’s called peer pressure.
You don’t want to be an outcast, you want to fit in as much as possible. If that means using tobacco (in any form), then so be it, right?
That’s exactly how it all starts, unfortunately.
It happens to everybody, of all races, genders, and sexual orientations.
For example, why do gays smoke? Why do young girls? Because they are stressed out, and have a lot on their plate, that’s why.
We live in a straight male dominated society, so it’s tough for some people to adapt.
But, it’s too late because now you’re addicted. The tobacco companies got you, and their plan worked.
The media plays an enormous role in everyone’s life.
Magazine ads, movies, celebrities, and even grocery store displays entice YOU. The more people they can persuade, the more money they can make. You may not even be aware of some of the tactics they use.
Let’s take a closer look:
CELEBRITIES – When you’re a vulnerable teenager rebelling against your parents, all it might take is a certain favorite celebrity of yours, who smokes, to make you want to experiment. If you find your idol attractive, you’ll want to try it even more.
Every girl likes the “bad boy” and every boy likes the “naughty girl.”
You believe you can be just like them if you emulate what they do. After all, they’re rich and famous and attractive.
If they can be all those things AND smoke, then you should be able to be rich, famous, attractive, and smoke as well, right?
Just because you see them smoking in a movie doesn’t mean they enjoy it. Perhaps they hate it, you never know.
Have you noticed fewer movies nowadays have actors smoking in them? Why do you think that is?
Could it be that the tobacco companies are losing the battle and more people are getting wise about the dangers? I believe so.
Fewer people are smoking because it’s bad for you. It is not cool anymore.
Make an effort to emulate a celebrity who doesn’t smoke. Those are the real role models you should be following.
Here are some abbreviated lists of male and female celebrity smokers, who are either alive or dead:
MAGAZINE ADS – When you page through your favorite tabloid or magazine, how often do you come across ads for cigarettes? Probably only a few, I would imagine in this day and age, but there are some.
Some are very blunt.
It’s always some hot cowboy riding a horse through the countryside smoking a cigarette. He’s the mountain man, and he’s every girl’s dream.
He’s portrayed as the “protector” and that is a very attractive trait a girl looks for in a man. So if she likes what she sees, she may want to smoke, too, to somehow “capture” a guy like him, potentially.
Sometimes the ads are subtle.
There may be no major brand labeled on the ad at all. It may be a picture of an attractive man or woman doing some sort of activity, most likely drinking.
You may not even notice the cigarette in their hand.
You’ll find the ad attractive because of the people who are in it, and you’ll want to emulate them and do what they’re doing.
Smoking may not even be in your mind until you encounter a situation in which an equally attractive person is doing it and you’re naturally curious about it.
It’s all psychological.
The people who design these ads aren’t stupid. They know exactly what they’re doing.
The more attractive people you see, the more likely you’ll want to be just like them. If it looks like they’re having a good time in the picture, you’ll want to try that exact activity out for yourself.
It’s all a mind game, and frankly, it works.
Don’t fall for these traps!
STORE DISPLAYS – These can be anywhere, from department stores, to grocery stores, and even gas stations. The tobacco companies use these places to target people, both young and old.
How do they do this?
They post ads near the checkout portraying cigarettes as cool and hip. The pictures show people smiling and having a good time. Their teeth are white, they are dancing, laughing, and enjoying themselves.
They make everything look so wonderful on the surface.
Additionally, they’re all arranged in an eye-pleasing manner.
“Look at all the options I can choose from!” It’s like a candy store for an adult.
It’s horrible, but their tactics work.
Some are obviously targeted towards women. Typically a long sleek pack consisting of pretty pink and baby blue colors. The cigarette itself is very dainty looking.
It’s a woman’s brand, just like those wide types are targeted towards men.
Again, the tobacco companies are not stupid. They know how to paint pretty pictures on ads and on packs to attract you. They know a cool looking pack will entice you to buy.
All it takes from your end is a simple phrase such as “Those look cool, I’m going to try them!”
And then it’s game over. They won.
Hopefully you’re reading this and you haven’t fallen for these traps. If you have, keep reading!
I fell for them all the time.
When I was young, I would buy packs based on the colors of the box. A pretty green color represented menthol, so I had to have some of those. A dark brown color represented regular flavor, so I had to have some of those, too.
What a fool I was! Don’t be like me!
Here are some ways why smoking is not cool.