Don’t give in to the peer pressure to smoke

Danielle Zukowski

A breezeway has been constructed between the past and the future. Amid the introductions to limitless firsts, we’re battling fine lines. There’s a tightrope of a measly barrier between yes and no, have and have not.

A number of these new opportunities are enlightening. Our minds are expanding. Exposure to unfamiliar philosophies and cultures provides us the chance to become a diverse student of the world. Not solely in the educational sense but being able to competently engage in intellectual discussions. With this comes a dark side. College also presents us with a world of addiction, one in particular being nicotine.

Cigarettes were not at all unknown to us. We’ve crossed paths with countless smokers that truly repulsed us with littered butts, polluting stench and general nastiness that made us vow never to smoke. We couldn’t understand the motivation to inhale fatality but, unfortunately, college invited many to relate to that same perspective we condemned for years.

For some reason when it’s strangers or even family members committing some offense, we don’t hesitate to express our stances. But then friends get involved and all of the sudden lines are blurred between right and wrong. Then there’s peer pressure. Then there’s the romanticized appeal of cigarettes. Puffing out seductive smoke clouds that consume your being for an instant. The bond it creates when passing hits around a circle of good company. Breathing in a moment of solitude, of peace whilst on work break.

I know; I used to waitress. That’s how the employees got acquainted – through a pack of death. You share a cigarette, you share a story. And now: college. That question – do you want a cigarette? College is stressful. It’s tempting to just disregard all responsibility and preconceived beliefs to just fulfill some capacity for pleasure.

Let’s have some fun, one time. I can stop anytime I want. I just smoke socially. One isn’t going to kill me. We’ve all heard the lines, the justifications. That one turns to two and three and then you’re dropping cash for packs. The effects are not escaped due to any excuse.

What was once sexy and cool now has abandoned your body to wither. Your hair brittles, nails yellow, breath screams, the smell trails, lungs blacken, you can’t breathe. We lose our youth. Forget singing, running, dancing, any of our talents are left to shrivel in favor of what? A moment of relief. A vice. Are there not other outlets?

What we don’t realize is saying no is just as easy as saying yes. People are self-centered. They may mock and tempt for a moment, but ultimately they don’t actually care whether you smoke or drink or whatever. 

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