Future Voices: It’s time to stop thinking smoking is cool

A woman smoking. Photo: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

A woman smoking. Photo: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire - Credit: PA

At parties, playgrounds and street corners up and down the country teenagers are making the choice. To smoke or not to smoke?

It is the question each and every teenager will have to encounter. One can take the puff and their steps into the halls of peer acceptance, or deny and have the doors slammed in front of them.

Smoking dictates an unreasonable proportion of youthful society. Often, if you smoke, you're in. Invited to each and every party and hailed as one of the 'gang'.

When others around you are falling to the feeling of prosthetic group togetherness and enjoying trips to the back of the sheds to poison their bodies, you may sit there with your clean lungs feeling alone.

The temptations are great. Acceptance is wonderful. But are the seventy cancerous toxins you have to inhale worth the 'friendships' that depend on exactly that?

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They shouldn't be.

'It's only a little bit though'. We are young, untouchable. Bad things only happen to the old people who have smoked more cigarettes than I've had breaths.

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But that's not true, it takes one mutation: one. Whoever you are, that next inhalation could be the one to grow your killer. You harbour it, protect it for years maybe. Then when it decides, it will get you.

Even with the knowledge gained, it still happens. The facts are there, but it continues. There are myths of its stress reduction, but a myth is precisely what it is. The chemicals and poisons put your body in a state of physical stress, not reduce it. With this being the case, we have to ask ourselves why? Plainly, there is no point.

The stigma of 'cool' HAS to be ripped away from this deadly, horrible habit.

George Sutton, 17, Roughton

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