Smoking ranks number one as the leading cause of preventable deaths in the United States. 438,000: That’s the number of people who die every year due to tobacco smoking in America.
There are a variety of reasons why people start smoking. Most people start smoking during adolescence or early adulthood. But, people continue to smoke because smoking is addictive. This is the main reason why people take up this tobacco habit.
Why is smoking addictive?
Smoking tobacco is addictive because tobacco contains nicotine, which makes one dependent on smoking tobacco. Nicotine is a drug, which when inhaled through tobacco smoke is absorbed into the blood through the lungs. On reaching the brain, it induces the artificial release of dopamine.
Dopamine is a chemical, which induces a feeling of pleasure, a feeling akin to a feeling of achievement.
Your body, therefore, yearns for this feeling of pleasure caused by this artificial release of dopamine caused by tobacco inhalation.
This feeling dies down after the nicotine levels fall and you wish for another tobacco smoke to get that feeling back. That’s how tobacco smoking makes one addictive to it.
This is the main reason why people smoke. And the smoking habit, though not impossible, is one of the most difficult addictions to break.
Causes of smoking in adults
Why do people smoke is something, which a nonsmoker may find difficult to digest. But, there are reasons, which make the weakly minded start smoking for the feeblest of reasons. Check out these causes.
Addictive nature of smoking
As explained above, smoking is very addictive. If a habitual smoker stops smoking abruptly, he or she will develop withdrawal symptoms such as difficulty in getting sleep and cravings for a cigarette.
The difficulty to stop smoking can be gauged from the fact that 70% of the people who give up smoking start smoking again. This is the cause of smoking, which compels one to continue smoking and is the most important reason why people smoke.
Poverty is one of the major causes of smoking
The prevalence of smoking is highest in the lower income group. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 26% of people below the poverty line smoked while those above that line numbered just 15%.
If you check out the prevalence of smoking in the United States according to the education level, you will find that smoking rates drop as the education level rises.
Only 3% of the graduates smoked compared to 34% of the people with a GED diploma.
Smoking and weight loss
It is surprising but many people smoke because smoking disallows weight gain. It is a fact that many people put on weight after giving up smoking. It is probably due to the following reason.
Smoking reduces the sensitivity of the taste buds. It reduces the sense of taste and the smoker does not relish or enjoy his food so much.
Secondly, he eats less because he is in a hurry to finish his food for that post-meal smoke.
Thirdly, to enjoy his smoke, he drinks tea, coffee or other beverages in between meals, which kill his appetite.
This cause of smoking may sound ridiculous to a nonsmoker or even to a smoker, but studies indicate that some people do continue to smoke to stay lean.
Smoking is also seen as a social activity. In a party, many people smoke to interact and be part of a crowd that has some smokers in it. This is true especially of the young crowd.
To fight boredom
In a boring situation, many people light up a cigarette to stay engaged.
A stressful or emotional situation can be a good reason to smoke for many. People smoke because it helps them to relax. It gives them a feeling of confidence and satisfaction, which makes it difficult to give up smoking.
Mental disorders such as anxiety and depression make the person want to seek relief from his miserable state of mind. He turns to smoking and alcohol for this relief.
And, smoking does that because nicotine stimulates the secretion of dopamine in the brain, which gives a “good mood” effect, though temporarily.
Why do teenagers smoke?
About 80,000 to 1,00,000 kids start smoking every day and about 20% of them continue to smoke for 15 to 20 years before giving it up. Teenage is a young age and easily influenced by outside factors.
Advertisements of tobacco products
Advertisements of cigarettes have a big influence on teenagers to start smoking.
Previously cigarette advertisements were seen everywhere, including hoardings, ads on television, ads in the theatres and press ads.
Even the glamorizing of cigarette smoking in movies by their favorite stars is a big motivation for young people to start smoking. Now, most countries have banned smoking advertisements due to their bad influence and ill effects of smoking on health.
Many youngsters start smoking as an act of rebellion against parental pressure. Smoking gives a sense of maturity to the young teen and makes him feel more confident. This is an example of the bad effects of peer pressure.
Influence of smoking parent
Children of smoking parent/s are more prone to start smoking simply out of sheer familiarity with smoking and the influence of the parental behavior on the children.
A teenager often starts smoking due to the influence of friends who are smokers. Constant interaction with such friends and their goading often makes him or her start smoking. This is probably the most common cause of smoking amongst the teenagers and is the main reason why teenagers smoke.
Though some of these smoking causes may sound convincing, the established fact remains that smoking kills you health wise and makes a hole in your finances.
A nonsmoker enjoys his life more than a smoker and his or her morbidity rate till late in life is better than a smoker’s. No cause of smoking can justify one to start smoking. Why people smoke is best left for the smoker to identify. What the smoker should know is that he or she should not smoke.