Drugs & Health Blog

Real Teens Ask: Why Do Teens Who Smoke Think They Are So Cool?

Image Courtesy of Frippy
Sara Bellum

Many teens have questions about drugs. On Drug Facts Chat Day, NIDA scientists get to listen in and answer these questions from students all across the country. Here’s one fromzippy do dafrom Kingswood Middle School in New Hampshire:

"Why do teens who smoke think they are so cool?"

There could be many reasons why teens who smoke think they’re cool: maybe their friends smoke, maybe their parents told them not to smoke, maybe they think it gives them an edgy look, or a temporary high. But the truth is, as far as your health goes, smoking is so not cool.

And who defines cool anyway? What’s cool to one person may not be cool to another. Just as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, coolness is an individual decision. Not everyone thinks that doing something illegal or unhealthy, just because your friends are doing it, is cool. Lots of teens would say it's cooler to hold a pen, paintbrush, or drum stick between your fingers, instead of a cigarette.

When our parents were younger, many of them thought “the Fonz” from the hit TV show "Happy Days" was the epitome of cool. Pretty dorky now.

A button image of "The Fonz."

Image Courtesy of FCharlton

Smoking among teens is lower than ever

Today it seems like a lot of teen smokers are figuring out that smoking is not very cool at all. According to a 2007 survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 50 percent of all high school smokers are actively trying to quit. And, according to the recent NIDA-funded Monitoring the Future study of 8th, 10th and 12th graders, smoking among American teens is at an all time low.

Coolness is a funny thing. Some things are cool one year (or one minute!), and not the next. Other things are cool no matter how much time has passed. What’s cool is also influenced by your gender, age, where you live, and, most of all, by who you are.

Check out how one high school student examined the cool factor as a science fair project—it even won her a cool prize. But don’t take our word for it—you decide.

Comments posted to the Drugs & Health Blog are from the general public and may contain inaccurate information. They do not represent the views of NIDA or any other federal government entity.


@TheTechGenius You make a good point about nicotine—it is an extremely addictive drug and, like all drugs of abuse, the transition from casual use to addiction can come at any time, depending on the person. 

O.k You people Change your reactions just by reading this simple article.I Don't smoke and i promised my self i never will its no biggie i just don't like the fact the smoking what ever that is you smoke is just a bad idea.I mean like these kind of things are useless. Everything in life takes its place.Smoking to me is rather stupid. I know i'm no god to tell why smoking is wrong or why smoking is cool. But my basic point that i'm trying to say that the word cool has changed everybody's dictionary on the word cool. Just think about it cool is another refrence for the word cold or in otherwise chill. By all means you can keep smoking but in so many ways its never going to help you can say its medicine. No its non-sense and it gets me mad Trust me any kind of drug/Smoking suppliments are very bad for you in so many ways. So use your brain and think (Why should I spend my time smoking when there's no cause)

so not cool to smoke not cool -_- only because of the effects and its a waste of money...
Smoke is not good for health. Do exercises is the best thing. Does not matter what exercise you like, walk, run, [commercial link deleted, per guidelines] or anything else is good for your body, is good for your mind.
Smoking is the key to this economic struggle think about it.... how many people die from lung cancer smoking marijuana? It is also a drug that mutates cells for people with cancer, it has SOME benefit if used by the correct person so why not tax and regulate???? ONLY for those who need it, that is my perspective.
majority of teens try itj ust to say the've experienced it, but they don't continue doing it. only a select few go on to keep on smoking, as a teen i would know- thank god I dont smoke!
I just smoke because I enjoy it. Also because a decade of pills meant to treat my autism nearly pushed me to suicide, so I needed to find something that worked. Smoking's not a cure, but you know what? It's helped more than Strattera ever did. And it'll keep helping until I find something that works better.
Smoking is really bad
smoking is not cool at all !!!!just waste of life ,money and ''FUTURE''its better to QUIT smoking and enjoy ur LIFE.
smoking is not cool at all !!!!just waste of life ,money and ''FUTURE''its better to QUIT smoking and enjoy ur LIFE.
lol, i cant belive people think smoking is cool when its sucide for like 6 quid a pack, using a knife is free!, lololol, people even say its good for you cuz it make you feel good, FEEL GOOD, not if you smoke for 40 years and end up in a hospital with red foam coming out you mouth,lololololololololol!
a Wild goose chase~William Shakespear
I smoke but i'm in the proscess of quiting but i kno i do not smoke to look cool, i smoke because i'm addicted! Wowwww people need to reserch their facts!!
smoking is VERY BAD for ur health and it really will affect u in life
i am using this for a project. this information was very helpful. thank you for these awesome facts now my anti-smoking project will succeed! smoking is not cool and people really shouldn't think that it is. It is not cool to die!
Smocking gives you brain damages
it is dum to smoke because it can kill u easily people just stop!!!!!!!!!
I agre.
Not all teens sm0ke because of being cool But some other teens like me sm0ke because of our problem this is our way to forget or solve our problem
I am not a smoker but a lot of my friends at school smoke. I think they do it to look big and cool. I can remember last year on Remembrance Sunday a group of us from school decided to go the local cenotaph for the service and a few of them decided to smoke during the service. Similarly the same group attended the local carol service on the green at Xmas and again smoking during the service. It didn't bother me, on both occasions we shared orders of service and smoke was blown out within the group so it didn't affect anyone else. Got a few funny looks but no one said anything.
Most teens don't smoke to be "cool". Stop acting like that's the only reason we do it. I do it to relax, relieve anxiety, or to make a fun time even better. It has nothing to do with being "cool". And bashing people who smoke it doesn't make YOU cool either.
There are better ways to relax and relieve anxiety. Smoking changes people in a negative way.
Soccer, Monopoly, and singing is fun; but you6 cant do that when you smoke.
DON'T SMOKE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I smoke because I dont honestly care about what happens to me, I only live for the moment, and my cigarette does too

Hi Douglace, I'm so sorry to hear you feel that way. If you ever want to talk to someone, please check out some of the resources on this page: http://teens.drugabuse.gov/blog/post/lifeline-where-to-get-help-when-you...

I'm a teen, but I watch Happy Days on DVD and did you just insult the Fonz?!

Ayyy! Any insult to the Fonz does not necessarily represent the views of the comment moderation team.

you smoke, you DIE!!!!
Donald Trump for President 2017
yet smoking can keep you alway from problems tho not to say its cool but it can be used to stay alway from all your problems
This was made in 2010. In 2017, it is far more common as marijuana is legalized. It really does not feel good seeing it as such a common practice. Why is it so encouraged and normalized now? It is harder for teens today to adjust to this new lifestyle. I really hope this changes.

We hope so too! NIDA is concerned about marijuana use among teens whose brains are still developing. There is clear research on this issue. There is a growing body of evidence that shows that marijuana can cause cognitive, memory, and learning issues, especially if users begin using at a young age. Research suggests that regular marijuana use by young people can have a long-lasting negative impact on the structure and function of their brains. A study of marijuana users who began using in adolescence revealed a profound deficit in connections between brain areas responsible for learning and memory.


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