Selected letters from teens who have written me.
I'm getting a lot of letters from teens who have read my teen smoking page. I've decided to publish a few of them in the hopes that these letters will help you decide to not smoke. I am hand picking these letters and it's up to me which ones I publish. For those of you who want to publish your own message, please use the conferencing system.
I started when I was 15, because my boyfriend smoked, and so did a couple of my good friends. It was just a social thing at first, but eventually I was addicted. I've tried to quit several times, either cold turkey or gradually weaning myself away, but here I am, still a smoker. I always go back to cigarettes. I always end up back at the smoker's pit at my school. There's a hill you have to walk up to get to the pit. Because I'm a smoker, I get out of breath just walking up the hill. Then at the top, I light a cigarette. It doesn't help.
I want to quit so badly, but the addiction is like a demon inside me. When I don't smoke, it rips my lungs apart, and I'm in constant pain. When I do smoke, I feel tired, apathetic, and guilty. I can't win.
Last summer, I was in a grocery store with my brother. I tried to steal a couple packs of cigarettes, because I'm not old enough to buy them.
I got arrested, and I spent the rest of the summer doing community service. That's all they made me do. But I didn't quit smoking. I wonder if I ever will.
If you want to put my story on your page that's okay with me. If you don't, well it's not that important. But I know that I should have educated myself about smoking before I started, and I hope my story might make someone stop and think.
Thank you for taking the time to listen.
Blessed Be~ Whitestar18*
I myself am 16 and have been around cigarettes for years although I have not smoked. I think that many of the reasons that you presented on your page about why teenagers smoke are right on the mark. But I feel that you've left one out. Curiosity. It's what makes all teens go wild. For me, it's the urge that is most difficult to fight off. You see people smoking and think "gee, I wonder why everyone is getting so crazy about cigarettes." Then you hear the stories and the wonderful feelings that they get after lighting up. But when you truly speak to a smoker about what it's like, you get all bad comments. Just the other day a friend said to me "Man these things taste like ass." I don't know about you but that doesn't sound very appealing.
The fact is teenagers smoke. They always will smoke. End of story. I just hope that the friends I have know enough to just STAY AWAY.
Thanks for listening.
Thank you very much for your Teen Smoking web page. I'm not writing you a letter saying that you've changed my life, or helped me make a very difficult decision. The truth is, I've already made my decision. I am a smoker. I have been since I was 17 years old. Now I'm 21, and I still smoke. But knowing that people like you are out there to warn other kids makes me feel good about the future.
I feel like a hipocrite every time I tell a non-smoker not to start. But that's truly how I feel. Hell, I feel like a hipocrite smoking: I spent my first three and a half years of high school telling my smoking friends how stupid they were and that I'd never start. Never. But I did. Like you said, I don't even know why I started. It wasn't peer pressure, my friends knew my position on smoking and never tried to get me to start. But I must admit, I did go to see a lot of movies my senior year...who knows?
Also, like you said, knowing the dangers won't help you quit or to not start. I knew. My boyfriend knew. We had reletives die right in front of our eyes. They were healthy, happy smokers, then they were dead. More education doesn't help. I'm about to graduate from college with a degree in psychology. I still smoke.
There is only one decision to be made on the issue. Either you will start smoking and you will be a smoker for the rest of your life, or you will not, and you will not be at risk for the awful things a smoker must face. I have friends who've quit smoking: for a few months, for a few years. One quit for 5 years. They all still smoke. After you choose to smoke, the choice isn't yours anymore.
Thank you again, Marc. I know you've already done some good.
I remember making decisions based on whether or not I could smoke. I wouldn't go to certain functions that I really wanted to go to because I couldn't smoke. Even my wedding day, I had to run around and hide my smoking habit. You see, my parents knew but I never smoked around them, and my husband-to-be's parents didn't know either of us smoked. It completely rules your life. It is the most illogical thing to do. You end up being trapped by this habit that takes on a life of its own. Its life rules your own life. Cigarettes take precedence over anything else that is important to you. Your whole attitude about things and people changes if you can or can't smoke.
The one thing that triggered me to quit smoking was pregnancy. My husband and I (in happier times) decided to try to have children. We both had planned to quit smoking when we did, as it is not fair to the children to have it in the house. Yay, pat on the back for us. How noble. I decided that if I was going to quit when I got pregnant anyway, then why the hell am I still smoking? That's where I started to take control of my own common sense and put it to good use.
Cigarettes will cause damage to you and your family even when your a teenager! I harmed my children before i was 20 years old.