Think back to when you were younger. Did you ever do anything without thinking? How many times were you at a party in your school years and someone offered you a cigarette or a drink? Did you ever tell them you needed to think about it and you would get back to them? Probably not. You smoke or drank because your friends were, and you wanted to be part of the group.
Researchers from the University of Missouri compared smokers with smokers who had quit in the 18 to 35 age group. They found that the smokers were more impulsive and neurotic. They also noted that young people who were more impulsive and neurotic were more likely to engage in detrimental behaviors, like smoking. The researchers also found that smokers who show the most decrease in impulsivity are also more likely to quit. Targeting that impulsivity may help young people stop smoking, because as smokers get older, the habit of smoking becomes a regular pattern of behavior.
This information is nothing new to the tobacco industry. Impulsivity is what they expect. Giving away free cigarettes to the 18 to 25 year old age group at tobacco-sponsored events is the perfect way to draw in new smokers. People aren’t going to throw the cigarettes away, they are going to smoke them. Every cigarette addicts the smoker one step closer to becoming a life-long user. You started smoking because your friends were doing it, and you keep smoking because you can’t quit.
The students need to understand that not everyone is smoking; it is okay to say no to something you really don’t want to do. Learning the tricks of the tobacco industry as well as the health consequences of tobacco is important to help youth not make impulsive decisions that impact their future. Visit Florida Statewide Tobacco Prevention and Intervention Teacher Training Course for more information on how you can help your students make informed decisions and understand the tobacco industry. www.tobaccopreventiontraining.org.
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