For my whole life, I have never understood why people smoke cigarettes even when they know the horrible effects it has on one’s health. It has been known for many years that the use of tobacco products is the main cause of life threatening diseases, such as cancer and emphysema. In the 20th century alone, smoking tobacco has accounted for over 100 million deaths, yet people continue to infest their body with this poisonous smoke. I realize now that the reason I have negative feelings towards smoking is because my parents adversely portrayed the behavior of smoking to me when I was a child. This experience has led me to believe that the way parents react to smoking plays a big role on whether their child becomes a smoker or not. I also believe that social pressure, coming both from friends and the media, is another cause of experimenting with tobacco. My real question then becomes not just why people smoke, but why some people become regular smokers while others smoke occasionally, or quit altogether. My analysis will focus on the behaviors at each stage of life that most frequently influence the initiation of smoking tobacco.
From the moment children are born they are constantly exposed to the realities of everyday life. Children who are exposed to cigarette smoke at a young age, or whose parents smoke are more likely to begin smoking. (Evans) Therefore, it is imperative at this stage of development that parents condemn smoking as much as possible so as to scare their child from experimenting later in life. In one study, the number of adolescent smokers was reduced, if by the time the child was 8 years old, their mother communicated to them strong antismoking attitudes. However, if either of the child’s parents were smokers, this anti-smoking attitude had no effect. (Forestell) Any perceived or witnessed pro-smoking behavior can increase a child’s chances of experimenting because their perceptions of social and environmental norms are very