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Has Smoking Finally Become "Uncool"?

According to a new survey, cigarettes are far less fashionable amongst the young

If you're a parent these days, chances are you are wondering when your child will face peer pressure to try smoking cigarettes. After all, when we were growing up, almost everyone tried cigarettes, and many went on to continue smoking. It was considered "cool" and fashionable, even after campaigns began to decry the terrible effects that can, and often do, result from smoking.

Those who have personally suffered the ill effects of smoking or have been witness to a loved one's suffering, as well as advocates of the anti-smoking movement will be heartened to realize that the tide continues to turn against smoking. A recent survey by Yahoo! Shine with more than 1000 responders has shown that in the current generation of young people (ages 18-34), the majority are against smoking, and there seems to be an implicit stigma against smoking within this subset of the population. The survey shows that most young people think it is "very uncool" to smoke, and they would not want to date a smoker. They also indicated that smoking is gross and the smell is awful.

While all this is encouraging, and may legitimately give parents some relief about this issue, more headway needs to be made to keep this positive trend going in the right direction. For instance, many young people consider smoking in the context of drinking (i.e., social smoking) to be relatively acceptable. The reason for connecting smoking and drinking is the general idea that smoking a cigarette "enhances" the effects of the drinking, providing an extra "buzz."

Thus, it seems that a main area for anti-smoking efforts needs to focus on decreasing social smoking, and specifically on breaking the association between drinking and smoking. Both alcohol and cigarettes are harmful substances with significant addictive potential, as well as considerable detrimental physical effects. Targeted education to counter their use and abuse in a social setting needs to be done both at home and in schools. Young people need to be given consistent messages that there is no benefit from smoking cigarettes, and even on an occasional basis, it is toxic to one's body.

So yes, we've come a long way, but we've not yet arrived. Let's keep the ball rolling!