Peer Pressure: The Reason Behind Teen Smoking According to Psychiatrists

Yearly, tobacco use is the reason for over 5 million deaths globally, and almost half of all cancer cases in the United States are associated with tobacco use. But despite the many advertisements about its negative effects, many are still hooked up to using tobacco, especially among the youth.   


According to recent CDC data smoking costs approximately $193 billion annually. This figure includes about $97 billion from loss of productivity due to premature death and $96 billion in smoking-related health care costs (not even taking into consideration the ever-escalating cost of health insurance). — Clifford N. Lazarus Ph.D.

In the United States alone, more than 3,200 youths 18 years of age or younger smoke their first tobacco every day, and an additional 2,100 young adults continue to smoke cigarettes daily.   Many tobacco companies add flavorings to tobacco for their product to be more appealing to the youth.


Reasons Behind Teen Tobacco Use

Many factors are linked to why a teenager feels the urge to smoke sooner than some adults.   

  •    Mass media showing tobacco use as a regular activity
  •    Tobacco use is acceptable or normal among their peers
  •    Having parents who also smoke
  •    Biological and genetic factors can make a teen dependent on nicotine and withdrawing can become a problem, like having a mother who smoked during pregnancy
  •    Depression, anxiety, and stress
  •    Thinking that there is a positive result of smoking, like weight loss
  •    Lack of skills to resist influences to tobacco use
  •    Lack of parent involvement
  •    Low level of education
  •    Low self-esteem
  •    Availability and accessibility of tobacco products


Peer Pressure In Teen Smoking


The teenage stage is the period in one’s life when a kid is starting to be subversive.  It is the age where he transitions from childhood to adulthood, a critical age where he becomes vulnerable to trying and experimenting with things.  It is the time of his life where every day seems like living a life of peer pressure not just in school, but everywhere he goes as he differentiates himself from his parents.  And often, the peer groups suggest negative choices to teenagers.


Parents Can Help Their Teens Defeat Peer Pressure

Peer pressure is one of the biggest reasons for teen smoking according to a psychiatrist, and that is the reason why almost all smokers start smoking at a very young age.   


Parents play an essential role in a child’s growing up years, and the quality of relationship they are going to have with their child is crucial on how a child can be easily swayed by peer pressure.   Getting involved in your child’s life, knowing who his friends are and becoming friends with them can help you a great deal to know if your kids are surrounded by good friends who positively influence them.   

The teen’s receptivity to his parent’s attitude and communication about teenage smoking, and about his/her particular smoking, was directly affected by whether the parent smoked currently, or in the past, and what the parent’s attitude about it was as well as how openly the parent opened up to his teen about it. — Adi Jaffe Ph.D.

It is also essential that as your child grows up into an adolescent, you must show him love, understanding, and respect.  Make him feel needed and make him comfortable. Allow him to think that he belongs, for this will give him security. If ever he did something wrong, nagging will not resolve anything nor will stop him from committing wrongdoing again.   As a parent, make sure that you set an excellent example to your kids according to a psychiatrist. Avoid nagging because it is hard to win a child with words, but by good action and behaviors of the parents toward him.


How Can We Bring Down Teen Tobacco Use?

Stopping tobacco smoking among youth is essential to ending the tobacco epidemic in the U.S.   Government, community, and family should join together in initiating some programs to reduce and prevent teens from using tobacco at an early age, or never dare to use it even later in life.  

  •    Increasing the price of tobacco products by subjecting them a higher tax
  •    Barring use of smokes in indoor areas in the workplaces and public places.
  •    Sale of tobacco products only to ages 21 and above
  •    Stop TV and radio advertisements and other media messages targeting the young on tobacco use
  •  School and college policies and interventions about encouraging smoke-free surroundings and lifestyle.  
  •    Intervention by the religious community
  •    Aspiration for a higher academic achievement
  •    Parental supervision

A study with the sample of 1,374 adolescents participating in a 4-year prospective longitudinal survey of health behaviors also shows that rewarding physical activities reduces the likelihood of adolescent smoking uptake. — Key Sun Ph.D.

There are many reasons why the young people of today start using tobacco early in life, but peer pressure plays a big factor. Each day a teenager is tempted to do what other teenagers are doing for them to feel a sense of acceptance and belongingness.   Don’t allow your kid to be trapped in this. If ever he has stepped into the trap, help get him out of there. Your family’s conviction and parenting style have all the power to fight peer pressure and save your child from tobacco use disorder.