Close-up of a man smoking a lit cigarette in low light. Close-up of a man smoking a lit cigarette in low light.

Why do People Smoke Cigarettes?

Smoking is injurious to health‘. Seriously! I don’t even remember how many times I have read this line. You must also have seen this written in various public places like hospitals or on the wrappers of cigarettes. But, do you think it hardly matters? I mean, knowing the fact that smoking is harmful, people keep smoking. And, I have seen many chain smokers too. You know out of my curiosity I once checked the WHO site. To my surprise, it states that in 2020, around 22.3% of people used tobacco. That’s sad!

In fact, smoking cigarettes has become so common now and there are various reasons for it. Although everyone understands it is harmful if you go explaining to anybody why they should quit, it just feels like a wasted attempt. And by the time it makes sense to them, it’s usually too late, as they’re addicted by now. Let’s understand why people start smoking and how they get addicted.

Peer Pressure is the Most Common Reason for Smoking

Why do People Smoke Cigarettes
Source- Unsplash

Although it sounds weird, it’s a kind of bonding activity. Sometimes people start smoking so that they feel a part of some group or as you call they try to fit in by smoking. Your peers in any place school, college, hospital, or any other workplace can be a big reason for your smoking.

The probability of this happening to a teenager is way higher than in any other age group because social media and other psychological factors come into play and make smoking look like a cool activity, something that helps them to stand out from the crowd. The problem with this is, that the earlier you start the more difficult it becomes to quit smoking.

It is not entirely their fault they absorb media, television, and advertisements that glorify smoking. It makes these young adults feel like smoking will make them more popular, a better partner, and somebody who can build easy camaraderie.

What Role Does Parenting Play?

Parents are the most important people who shape the future of children. Any child who watches their parents regularly smoke starts feeling that it is normal. He/She has a higher chance of starting to smoke at a very early age.

In fact, many parents do not smoke but think that smoking is socially acceptable and makes their children feel the same. They are exposing their children to smoking with people.

Every parent therefore needs to be strict with their children when it comes to smoking or similar activities. They should not be encouraged in any sense to smoke.

Smoking kills. If you’re killed, you’ve lost a very important part of your life.

Brooke Shields

Some Other Reasons Why People Smoke Cigarettes

1. Stress

A large number of people start to smoke because of its calming effect, as it makes you numb and relieves stress. The problem is that initially, the numbing effect works very efficiently. But, soon you get addicted to nicotine in the cigarettes. Then, the amount you need to consume to attain the same level of satisfaction increases.

Now whenever you are in a stressful situation your brain automatically creates a feeling of urgency and you want to smoke a cigarette, it becomes not just a psychological but also a chemical problem. The Nicotine withdrawal cycle, therefore, keeps up the addiction and it seems difficult to quit smoking.

2. Advertisement

The industry leaders in cigarette manufacturing are big companies, indeed the ones that are not at the top of the pyramid are doing very fine. These companies spend heavily on advertising their products, they focus on targeted audiences with highly entertaining advertisements which make smoking as an activity look very appealing.

Why do People Smoke Cigarettes
Source- Pixabay

It is incorporated in not just advertisements, but in TV shows and movies, games, and others. Their target marketing strategies are very effective and very creative. They present that smoke is synonymous with success and a glamorous life.

3. Depression

People who are undergoing a difficult phase in their lives or are depressed often resort to smoking. This is because the neurotransmitter that is basically a result of attaining pleasure is released even when the brain is stimulated by nicotine and dopamine supply. Therefore, is somehow regulated by the consumption of nicotine by smoking cigarettes.

Eventually, the brain develops an addiction to nicotine, so now dopamine is no longer released with the same number of cigarettes.

Why do People Smoke Cigarettes
Source- Pixabay

So, in the long term, people actually have to increase how much they smoke, so that nicotine can stimulate enough to produce dopamine. Nicotine withdrawal is also very difficult for people who are depressed for the very same reason.

How Nicotine Addiction Builds as You Smoke?

Well, this is all scientific. Earlier, I also used to wonder how people become addicted to smoking. Then, I read a lot about this from various informative platforms.

If I explain this in simple words, basically, nicotine gets absorbed in the blood very quickly and spreads in the whole body. It does two things –

  • One is to create a small adrenaline rush which escalates heart rate and blood pressure.
  • Second is that it makes its way into the reward system, initially stimulating it with small quantities and eventually turning into addiction and increasing dependency, absence leading to ill effects on your mood.
Why do People Smoke Cigarettes

Since it travels very fast it reaches the brain very quickly, but also leaves implying that the effect dies down in some minutes, making you moody, edgy, or irritable. After the body has built up tolerance the amount of nicotine consumption keeps on increasing because withdrawal becomes increasingly difficult.

The withdrawal symptoms make you very sleepless, restless, and insomniac. You become physically dependent along with psychological dependence. The addiction is very strong, it becomes really difficult to stop consuming nicotine even more than opiates or alcohol.

Very few people can quit smoking without help is what research says, and even with help a lot of people just can not because their brains are wired in such a manner that makes the very thought of quitting a nightmare.

How can you Quit Smoking?

As we have seen the people around us are a huge influence, try to stay away from people who smoke often. When you’re in a group of people at a party, a work break, or any other social setting inform people that you are trying to abstain from smoking and do not get allured to take ‘just one smoke’.

You’re always better off if you quit smoking; it’s never too late.

Loni Anderson

You will need very strong willpower to try to make it purpose-driven so that on difficult days you can reason out your behavior. Think positively about your quitting process, and appreciate small victories. Do not feel defeated as the progress will be slow because if you ignore it and take another smoke, you will be back on square one with all your efforts wasted.

Last Updated on April 24, 2024 by Pragya


Anushree Khandelwal
  1. I really wanted to help my friend, who’s become a sheer addict for cigarettes.
    In order to do so I always wanted to know why does he smoke?
    This article helped me get a brief idea on the matter and now I can maybe try to help him and understand him better.
    Thanks a Lot!!

  2. Yes, indeed, today’s lifestyle and way of living have given a lot of stress, depression and many unwanted problems, so to avoid and relax, most people prefer to smoke to feel good. At that moment, no one cares. It is harmful. Once I asked someone why you smoked, the person told me it gave relief. This article has concluded that avoiding joining groups where smoking is done and help those to take small steps to get out of it and stop smoking.

  3. An insightful exploration of why people start smoking, shedding light on the pervasive influence of peer pressure and the significant role of parenting. The article aptly captures the social dynamics that contribute to smoking initiation, emphasizing the impact of media portrayal and the desire to fit in.

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