Although fewer people smoke cigarettes today than in previous generations, the rate for smoking in the United States continues to run in the 20% range, according to the American Heart Association. The Association also notes that more than four out of every five smokers express a desire to quit smoking with many actively or passively trying to kick the habit at any given time, especially with the extra government cigarette sin taxes pushing the price of a pack of cigarettes over $5 a pack and considerably more in some areas.
Most Smokers Start Before Age 20
According to The Teenagers Guide to the Real World, almost all smokers begin smoking before the age of 20. Reasoning and decision-making abilities are not fully developed during these years, and a simple act of rebellion or an attempt to “fit in” with peers, for many teens, leads to a long-term physical and emotional addiction to nicotine.
Once an addiction to nicotine is established, it is very difficult to break the habit as noted by the U.S. Library of Medicine. A certain level of nicotine and at fairly consistent intervals is required to feel “normal” once nicotine dependence is established.
So, teenagers who experiment with smoking cigarettes enter adulthood with an actual physical dependence on a drug – nicotine but also with a number of psychological and social attachments to smoking.