Just Say No?

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Just Say No?

We all know that making the choice to start smoking is most often an adolescent’s decision made in response to peer-pressure: teenagers wanting to appear cool, independent, sophisticated and glamorous to their friends.

Anti-smoking commercials always seem to be directed at teens. I remember from my younger days, “Just say no” was a popular catch-phrase. Today, I can turn my television to any random station and, sooner rather than later, I am going to run across an anti-tobacco advertisement. They seem to pop up every five minutes.

Anti-smoking ads have been increasingly graphic, even gruesome, in the past several years. These ads show teens, toddlers, even babies with sad faces, crying, or surrounded by clouds of smoke. They show an old man in a wheelchair, with tubes coming out of his throat, just so he can breathe.

But do all these advertisements really matter?

In an article by Dr. Mark Clayson, Anti-Smoking Ads, Clayson points out, “Anti smoking ads are more effective as a preventive measure for those who have not yet tried smoking. If the organizations behind the anti smoking ads are well able to orient young kids early on the harmful effects of smoking and make their presence more known way before cigarette campaigns start to tempt them to pick up the habit, they will be more likely to succeed in protecting the younger generations, if not to totally make the older ones realize how detrimental smoking really is.”(1) So if the anti-smoking ads are more effective on younger children, I wonder if there is a difference if that child’s parent(s) smokes or not.

My parents smoked when I was younger, but quit before I reached my adolescent years. I started smoking when I was fifteen years old. I wouldn’t say that my parents smoking had anything to do with why I started smoking. Thinking back, I would have to say the reason I started smoking was because my friends where smoking. Fast-forward seventeen years, and I am still smoking....
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