Don’t say don’t Smoke

The initiating process of smoking is something of an ageing ritual. It is part of an inevitable curiosity which springs from a growing awareness of the kind of world we live in. That world consists of the areas which are basically negative – the shady areas which only become accessible with age. And with this emerging accessibility comes the utilisation of the accessibility; a basic human reaction. Childhood is a time when you are exempt from unpleasantries and consequences, and it is finite. You cannot expect a young teenager to remain exempt, which means not possessing a sort of abhorrent ‘forbiddenness’ of such things as smoking, which are part of the learning curve. I am not in any way suggesting that parents should not discourage such things as smoking; this vehement discouragement is the initial deterrent – something to grow out of. However, there is an unneeded and undeserved (over)reaction of utter panic from – at the risk of sounding overly ‘teenagerish’ myself – stuffy adults, at those naïve youngsters who succumb to normality.

Of course, no seventeen year old has experience of ‘smoking life post-teenage years’. I cannot fathom the prospect of being faced with health repercussions; of the frivolous, standard and casual turning bad. This I can concede, I don’t doubt that if I were a sixty year old lung cancer patient I would be writing a letter of disdainful complaint right this second. I understand that this issue can become a matter of life and death, and in the face of this, its seriousness cannot be suitably conveyed. However I am simply writing from my experience of youth culture thus far. It’s sad, but this is how it is. An insignificant almost subconscious choice; a choice which seems inconsistent and retractable. There is nothing concrete in a sixteen year old who ‘smokes’. With modern knowledge of the effects of smoking, and the warnings highly publicised, but also with the option of ignoring these warnings so available, I almost see it as pot-luck as to whether said teenage smoker ends up as an addict in their thirties.

So, here is my advice to governments and parents everywhere; yes, the anti-smoking barrage of doom works on kids. However, you cannot quell awareness of the world, and neither can you screw an entirely immune head onto an intellectually and morally developing teenager, so don’t try.