Skip to main content

Twentyfirst Century Smokers

Today, walking by my house, I see a young woman (twenty-something) standing on her back patio, cigarette in hand. I've noticed more and more young folks smoking, and it disturbs me. Watching my mother die of cancer plays a piece, and that deep inner desire for no one to ever self-inflict that horror. But there's another piece at play.

Entirely anecdoteal observations on my part show a great up-tick in smokers. Now, my generation saw great deceases in the rate of smokers. The next seems to be growing. What's at play here?

Our knowledge of health-risks has only increased, no it's not any kind of decrease in awareness of them. Actually, my wife presented me with an idea that makes sense: they're rebelling against us. We grew up with socially acceptable smoking parents. Perhaps part of our turning away from cigarettes was our own rebellion.

Anyway, there is a communications piece at play: the social message against smoking has waned. To our detriment, as a society I'm sure. Gives me pause to consider how we make smoking decrease to zero. No, I don't think prohibition will work. Shame is only so effective, and encourages an element of rebellion. So, I'm at a loss. Which makes me deeply sad.