As I went about doing my research and learning about a culture that I include myself in, I realized that the older generations of smokers didn’t mind sharing tales of how they started and didn’t seem embarrassed or cared at the fact that they smoked cigarettes. However on the flip side when I talked with people around my own age or a little older or younger I noticed that they felt like I was judging them, it took me explaining myself to them as being a smoker too for them to realize that I wasn’t judging them in anyway, but merely just looking for data about the smoking culture. I thought at first it would be easier to talk with some of the older men and women that I knew to begin conducting my research because I felt they would be more willing to discuss with me their lives and how smoking became part of it. After I talked to the parents and single adults I knew that smoked, I worked my way to some of my friends who were smokers, and then a couple of my sister’s friends whom are underage but still manage to have a smoke when they need them. As I conducted my interviews with the adults there were a few problems I encountered at first, which some didn’t really make sense but I was able to settle everything to keep my data useful.
One adult didn’t feel comfortable sharing some of her past experiences that led her into smoking, which I understood, so in order to make her comfortable we just talked about everyday things for awhile until she was ready to open up and talk with me about it. Another adult I spoke with didn’t believe me that I was only doing this for a college essay; he seemed to believe that I was trying to figure out his life and was going to do something illegal or something, which I found very strange and ridiculous. All it took was merely showing him the sheet that explains what exactly I was writing and interviewing for, and after he found out he turned very read and lit up a cigarette which in a way was good. This situation was good for me because not only did it show that he wasn’t afraid to smoke in front of company but it also showed me what causes him to smoke now, which seems to be when he is embarrassed or feels foolish. When it came to the kids my age, I saw a few of the same problems, some were embarrassed to tell the truth that they were into a nasty habit that they swore would never be a part of when they got older. I had a few students who were scared to talk about it because some of their parents still hadn’t known about them smoking, and they wanted to make sure that I wasn’t conducting some sort of blackmail to play on them at a later date.
Imagine your life is trapped in a car seat, restrained under your seat belt with nowhere to turn. You see the flash of the lighter flicker and begin to dread the next ten to twenty minutes of the car ride praying you are almost to your destination. You start to imagine how that person can really live with himself or herself knowing they are taking away from your healthy life. I question, how hard ...
Finally I had interviewed some of the high school kids whom weren’t even old enough to smoke, but were getting their little paws on cigarettes anyway. Surprisingly they weren’t hard to talk to at all, they didn’t care that they weren’t old enough nor did they have any trouble talking about how they got involved with it, because they knew I was a smoker and they knew I wasn’t there to judge them, just to ask them questions about their smoking history. All the problems I seemed to run into were easily avoided after a few minutes or a short time with the subjects just to get to know them better and to get the trust issue set into play. These problems also said a lot about the subjects and their ways of life and how they feel on the inside, so it was a good first experience for me when I first sat down with some of my interviewees.
While doing all of my interviews, conversations, and just basic chats with people, most of the reasons behind people smoking revolved around my initial thesis, and most of the data I collected fit right in with the main reasons I believed people started the habit. I first started off with my dad, since I knew a lot about him already, trust wasn’t a problems and the getting to know you more stage was already out. We began talking about his childhood and his father being the rough and tough guy that he was my dad had this to say, “I never saw myself smoking when I was a kid, but with all of the things I went through with my dad, and how he was when I was your age, smoking just gave me that stress relief that brought my stress back to a substantial level” (Thompson).
Today, as in every other day of the year, more than 3,000 adolescents in the United States will smoke their first cigarette on their way to becoming regular smokers as adults (NCI 1994). A number of students on campus are habitual smokers because smoking is addictive; furthermore, unless repressed, it leads to many health complications. The report by the National Cancer Institute on smoking ...
My dad had a very difficult childhood, his dad my grandfather was a very tough person, who not only could physically abuse his kids, but knew how to mentally abuse them as well. My father explained to me during our interview that one day he upset his father so bad that he put duct tape over my dad’s mouth and made him sit on the front porch for three hours while all of his friends came and saw how humiliating the punishment was. My mother and I talked about her being a part of a somewhat cool crowd in high school, and that with her new level of popularity her smoking started there. She of course quit smoking when she became pregnant with her first child aka ME. My dad’s friend started smoking when he became a construction worker, because on those hot days of working and aching he said a cigarette just kind of made the day go by faster. “It gave me something to do when I had a few minutes of break time at work, and when you’re working your butt off for 9-10 hours, you could go through about a pack…it not only makes you feel better, but it passes the time away”(Pollner).
I then started discussing the smoking culture that I can include myself in, the young adults who smoke. I started discussing smoking with my buddy who would say to anyone that I was the start of his habit, and sadly I would have to agree with him. He had gotten himself into an emotional rollercoaster, began liking this girl whom I told him wasn’t going to work out for him in the long run. Against everything I told him he went for it and sadly fell flat on his face, and then he came running to me, he recalls, “I remember I was in such a horrible mood, so depressed I couldn’t think straight, so I called you up, said ‘dude I’m so down I need something to get me out of this mood’ and with the help of some friends you got me feeling better again” (Johnson).
First let me start off by saying that the choice to smoke is yours and yours alone. Everyone has their own freedom of choice to start smoking or never smoke at all. I am highly against the idea but I nor anyone else can make you smoke or make you stop smoking. With that in mind here is some things you probably don t know about tobacco. It causes nearly one of every five deaths in the United States ...
He told me during our conversation that he felt I had saved his life, I personally don’t believe that I saved his life but I will say that I made him feel better which is what friends are for. Another one of my friends had a tragic incident happen in his family, and I of course was there to help him but he brought it up during our interview, “I don’t know what I would’ve done if you weren’t there with the pack waiting for me to help me get through it…it may have gotten me addicted, but it was worth it” (Lueders).
His mother had went to the hospital after she had collapsed while working out in their garage, shortly after the ambulance took her away he called me and we had a very long heart to heart while smoking on cigarettes because it eased the pain for the both of us. Finally I talked to my sister’s friend, whom I’ve known for a few years, and we talked about life and of course guys stuff, and that’s when I began to crack him down about his smoking. He told me that he had just started this year as a sophomore, unfortunately that means he’s starting at 15 years old, we talked about the one and only peer pressure, where a lot of smokers first start. “My friend Chris has been my bud for like four years, we do everything together, but a couple of months ago he tried smoking with some other kids from school, and he started doing it more and more, so he got me to try it and I didn’t mind it so now I guess I’m hooked on it” (Garcia).
So throughout the culture it’s irrelevant the age, everyone has their own ways of doing things and reasons behind doing what they do.
As I look back at my observations and interviews with the subjects, I realized what kind of culture that I am associated with, the smoking culture doesn’t kill people or harm people or even cause trouble, they are their own culture that just wants to live their lives with as little stress and frustration as possible. I knew before the study of what I was getting myself into, I thought this would be a good thing to study because I am a part of this group, now my reasoning for involvement is different than one person, and that person is different than another, but we all share the same reasons for continuing to do this habit. We continue smoking not just because there’s nicotine in it which causes people that do it addiction, we continue doing this habit because it does for us what nothing else can, keeps us relaxed and stress free. I myself began smoking when I was 14 years old after my father had gone to the hospital, and when nothing else worked (i.e. talking to friends, doing activities, anything to keep my head clear) I found a pack of cigarettes in my kitchen cupboard. After a few I just felt so much more relaxed and the worry about my father had decreased significantly, so I kept smoking because it eased the pain. Sooner or later with all the smoking I just had gotten hooked on the habit because of the nicotine I had been putting in my body, and of course because whenever I was stressed out and frustrated a smoke would make me feel better and bring me back to earth. I also realized while doing this assignment that the start of smoking just happens, but people don’t need to be judged for it because like I always have said non-smokers never realize why smokers started smoking in the first place.
... peer pressure to get others to start smoking who in turn get others to start smoking etc... Another reason people start smoking is shear curiosity. This is ... teens future. This explains why a vast majority of smokers start at 16 years or younger with the most common age being 14 ... popped out." I really wanted to try one. For 3 years my friends smoked while I just hung out. Curiosity got the ...
As I did my study my perception of this culture only became strong, of course I already had an idea of what I was getting into because I myself am a smoker, but talking to people my age and even adults who are older than me and hearing their stories and reasons for how they became smokers just made me realize that I am who I am and I enjoy who I am. People look at smokers and think they are disgusting people with a very bad habit, girls hate guys that smoke, but they really don’t understand how or why it happened in the first place. Being judged I’ve come to understand is something that does hurt when you’re the one being judged, and in the end I have lived by this one motto for anyone who smokes, “Smoking is what we do, not who we are.”
Garcia, Montico. Personal Interview. March 1, 2010.
Lueders, Sean. Conversation. March 5, 2010.
Johnson, Robbie. Online Conversation. March 2, 2010.
Pollner, Randy. Personal Interview. February 27, 2010.
Thompson, John. Conversation. March 1, 2010.