Briana Montoya | Staff Writer
A quick Google search shows that in the United States 36.5 million adults are smokers. This information does not account for the teens who secretly smoke, and some of those kids walk the halls with you every day. E-cigs, cigarettes, and marijuana all come into account for that. The ongoing question: if smoking is so bad, then why do people still do it?
“Some are just addicted… and cannot avoid it,” said Chris Montoya, a non-smoker who has a family of smokers. People choose their fate, but does anyone willfully decide to get addicted to the harmful substance?
Students who were interviewed about why they smoke even if it is bad for your health had obvious answers. One said, “I like to smoke. It makes me feel good. I just get really happy, and I love that feeling.” This student did not know all the harmful effects of smoking. Even though they did know it’s not good for your body, they were oblivious to the long and short term effects it could have. When asked how much they smoked in a day, they responded, “Maybe once or twice a day. It really depends if I’m not in a good mood and I want to be happy.”
This is not a typical response among teens who chose to smoke. According to Suzzanna Williams, a journalist for Scholastic magazine, teenagers who smoke over twice a day usually do it because some external force is “making them” take it.
Nine out of ten cigarette addicts said that they tried their first cigarette before the age of 18. Over 99% said that they first had a cigarette before the age of 26, according to a study done in 2010 by the campaign Tobacco-Free Kids. The age at which teenagers are trying their first cigarette has been dropping since 1980, which has caused a growing risk among teenage addicts. “I did not feel pressured to try smoking by my friends or family… I just wanted to do it because of me. No one else,” said another student when asked why they decided to start smoking. Unlike this student, most teenagers feel pressured to try cigarettes by their family or friends who also smoke. And in spite of efforts to curtail or prevent smoking, the threat remains here at La Cueva.