Why do people smoke, reasons why people start and continue to smoke?

Why do people smoke, reasons why people start and continue to smoke?

Most people are not entirely sure exactly why they started smoking in the first place. It usually happens when the smoker is very young and susceptible to popular cultural messages and imagery, some of which are influenced by advertising. Though tobacco manufacturers and cigarette brands have done their fair share of influencing people to smoke by creating advertising messages and imagery that projected an image of glamour, sophistication, independence, rebelliousness, coolness or whatever quality or virtue appealed to their market segment at that time, some of the influences may also have been unintentional.

Why do young people smoke cigarettes?

There are several reasons as to why children or teenagers start smoking. 

Peer pressure plays an important part. Many children start smoking because their friends have tried it or smoke themselves. 

Children perceive smoking to be an adult behaviour and children may often take up smoking in an attempt to appear more grown-up. Studies show that young children are influenced by parents who smoke, forming more positive attitudes towards smoking than those living with non-smoking parents. This association was found in children as young as three years old; In one study, twice as many children of smokers say that they want to smoke compared to children of non-smokers. Adolescent children of parents who successfully quit smoking are also much less likely to smoke compared to those of parents who do smoke. Adults should be made aware of the impact of their own smoking behaviour on the future smoking behaviour of children. It is essential for adult smoking to be reduced and marginalised as part of comprehensive strategy to decrease smoking among young people.

Other children start smoking as an act of rebellion or defiance against their parents or people of authority. 

Some children may also begin to smoke if they have low self-esteem. Smoking may get them in with the "in crowd" and help them to make friends. If they smoke, then they will be accepted by their peers. 

Some children have said that they smoke to appear older and more grown up, especially if they are surrounded by young adults who smoke. 

A number of children are only experimenting with smoking and just want to try it so see what all the fuss is about. As it is prohibited to smoke until the age of sixteen or even eighteen in some countries, children who smoke and get away with it without being caught, can get a thrill or feeling of excitement out of flaunting the law and doing what grown up adults do all the time.

Why do people smoke - reasons why people start and continue to smoke?

There are over one thousand million smokers throughout the world, which is an astonishing number, considering the harm smoking does to your body, which we are all well aware of. 

The core reason people smoke is because they are addicted to nicotine and can't stop—it's a simple as that. Here are some onother reason:

Smoking is Fun

What is the nature of this psychological pleasure? It can be traced to the universal desire for self-expression. None of us ever completely outgrows his childhood. We are constantly hunting for the carefree enjoyment we knew as children. As we grew older, we had to subordinate our pleasures to work and to the necessity for unceasing effort. Smoking, for many of us, then, became a substitute for our early habit of following the whims of the moment; it becomes a legitimate excuse for interrupting work and snatching a moment of pleasure.

Smoking is a Reward

Most of us are hungry for rewards. We want to be patted on the back. A cigarette is a reward that we can give ourselves as often as we wish.

Smoking is often merely a conditioned reflex. Certain situations, such as coming out of the subway, beginning and ending work, voluntary and involunatary interruptions of work, feelings of hunger, and many others regulate the timetable of smoking. Often a smoker may not even want a cigarette particularly, but he will see someone else take one and then he feels that he must have one, too.

While to many people smoking is fun, and a reward in itself, it more often accompanies other pleasures. At meals, a cigarette is somewhat like another course. In general, smoking introduces a holiday spirit into everyday living. It rounds out other forms of enjoyment and makes them one hundred per cent satisfactory.

Cigarettes Help Us to Relax

One shortcoming of our modern culture is the universal lack of adequate relaxation. Many of us not only do not know how to relax, but do not take time to learn. Smoking helps us to relax because, like music, it is rhythmic. Smoking gives us a legitimate excuse to linger a little longer after meals, to stop work for a few minutes, to sit at home without doing anything that requires effort.

There are those who may even smoke to control their weight. On average, smokers weigh seven pounds less than non-smokers. Smoking reduces appetite and decreases the sense of taste and smell.
The social aspect of smoking, of course, cannot be ignored. Many smokers feel part of a "club;" identifying with a group who, say, goes out for smoke breaks at work gives a sense of belonging and bonding.

Understanding all of the factors that go into why people choose to smoke can help you better understand someone who lights up despite all we know about how bad smoking is for us. If you are a smoker, you may or may not be acutely aware of these and other factors that may be factoring in to why you can't kick the habit. If you are trying to quit, consider the above and look for substitutes and changes that you can make to take cigarettes out of the equation.

Finally, some people smoke if they are bored and have nothing to do or if they are feeling lonely. Trying to keep busy would perhaps be a more satisfactory solution to this problem.


Everyone who smokes knows that cigarettes are harmful. Cigarettes contain carcinogenic and toxic elements that can lead to life threatening ailments such as heart disease and cancer. In the short run, cigarettes affects the smoker’s appetite, their sense of taste and smell, their breathing capacity, their skin texture not to mention bad breath and the way a smoker smells. Smokers also cause harm to those around them – friends, family and colleagues at work – through second hand smoke.

When there is so much evidence on the harmful effects of smoking, why do smokers still find it difficult to quit smoking? Is it because of nicotine addiction? Is it because they just chose to ignore the fact that they are willingly inhaling poison into their bodies? There is no simple answer to why it is so difficult to quit smoking. There are as many reasons why it is not easy to stop as there are many different advices on what is the most effective way to quit smoking.

Some say going cold turkey is the most tried and tested way while others recommend the use of nicotine patches to alleviate the effects of the withdrawal symptoms. There is even a theory that the urge for smoking is psychological and that through hypnosis you can overcome the habit. There are many resources available online on not only how to quit smoking but also why you should quit smoking. Since most people started smoking because of peer pressure, it is a good idea to use the same reasoning to quit smoking. Find out and join a support group near you or online where you will meet members who share a similar objective and will not only be sympathetic to your failure in trying to stop but also provide a source of encouragement to try again to quit the habit.