Kicking the butt!

Saying No

Kicking the butt!

Smoking is injurious to health. All of us have come across this message at some point of time, especially on cigarette packs, where it is printed loud and clear. Yet, a large chunk of the younger generation is addicted to smoking.

Various studies have revealed that most youngsters take their first puff during their college days. Peer pressure, attitude change, stress and the urge to experiment are some of the reasons cited for this. While many take a dislike to the habit, there are those who get hooked on to it easily.

Metrolife interacted with youngsters who have watched many of their friends spoil their lives because of this habit. But not all have just stood by as spectators, some have provided tips to help their friends come out of the habit.

Sumera, who has finished his PUC, says, “For many, it is their first time away from home and that gives them the courage to go ahead and experiment on what they want. Many people I know say that it liberates them and there are also those who think they just look cool doing it. I feel that if we really care about the person, we should really put the person down every time he takes out a cigarette. That way, he will gradually know that it ain’t really all that cool to smoke,” he says.

There are different breeds of smokers — chain smokers, passive smokers, and ‘social smokers’. Many youngsters smoke only on some occasions, especially at a social gathering. “A common perception among young people is that smoking occasionally is not all that harmful. What they do not know is that whether you smoke once in a while or regularly, you are equally prone to its damaging effects. Also, it is this occasional smoking which ultimately culminates into tobacco and nicotine addiction,” says Ramesh, a psychologist.

Fourteen-year-old Omika says that she was actually surprised to find people in her age group indulging in this habit.

“It is really sad. I feel that children, who start it young, don’t really know the consequences of such bad habits. Moreover, they lose their parents’ trust. My advice to all those children is not to take steps that will spoil the trust your parents have in you,” adds Omika.

Many measures and campaigns have been taken out to make sure there is enough and more information on the consequences of smoking but many say that is not enough. “One must have more campaigns and interactive workshops on the effects of smoking. Plus, one can probably hike the prices of the cigarettes so that college students think twice before buying them,” suggests Raghav, a working professional.

All measures apart, ultimately it is a personal choice, say many. “Unless the individual makes up his or her mind to quit no amount of advice can work.

I just hope they realise that the amount of money they invest on cigarettes can actually be put to some better use,” says Shristi, another student.

Ways to stub it out

Youngsters offer tips on how one can quit smoking.

* First make up your mind to quit.
* Distract yourself every time you feel like a smoke.
* Make sure you sit in a non-smoking area when you go out.
* Hang around with friends who don’t smoke.
* Learn to love your body that way you will not harm it.

Doctor’s advice

* Determine the day you will stop.
* Tell the people around you that you are going to quit.
* Take away everything that reminds you of smoking.   
* Change your eating and drinking habits. Drink a lot of water, eat lot of fresh fruits and beware of drinks like coffee, tea and alcohol.
* If you fall back, don’t give up. Find out in what situation it happened and try to find out what alternatives you can use in the future.          

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