When it comes to government schemes in trying to get younger people to quit smoking I can’t help but feel we are heading in the wrong direction. Sure the packets of cigarettes that show graphic images of people with tumours and cancerous organs are not the prettiest of sights but do these really deter the youth of today from smoking?
It Will Never Happen To Me…
The problem we have is that young people are being more and more desensitised from such images as they have grown up in a world where the media is constantly bombarding them with images of war, terrorism and street crime that far out pass any of the images we see on cigarette packets. Humans by their very nature are people that constantly tell themselves that “It will never happen to me”. Young people know the risks of smoking but as we all know from being young something in which we didn’t give much thought to was the future. In truth many of us thought that we were invincible. There was always many years left ahead of us to worry about our exams and A levels and as for getting a job and starting a career, well that was a lifetime away. What matters to them is the here and now – does smoking make them look cool and fit in at school? It sure does and this is a key reason why many of them start on their smoking journey. Just to make things clear here I am in no way saying that smoking is cool, I was merely pointing out the reasoning why teenagers start smoking. If we look at the results from a study that was undertaken by the University of Stirling, which involved over 2,800 children between the ages of 11-16, they found that the images located on the front of cigarette packets had almost no effect at deterring them from picking up a cigarette.
Time To Rethink Our Strategy?
So what next? How do we break this warped sense of what it is to be cool? I think the way forward to tackle this issue head on is to point out the positive aspects of not smoking in the present as appose to the negative smoking effects in the future. Image and money are two big things that young people value very highly, such things can be used in campaigns in order to deter them from smoking to begin with. These could include the extra disposable income they will have from not spending all their hard earned money on cigarettes or how quitting smoking will improve their skin quality i.e nice smooth skin as oppose to a dried out weathered face with wrinkles.
Trying to get someone to quit who has been smoking for years can be very difficult, however by targeting the youth of today with campaigns that relate more to them and speak to them on a more personal level we can start to reduce the future number of smokers and improve the health of future generations.
Like or Share this article If you feel we need to re-think our current campaigns and schemes that are currently being used to either deter young people or try and get them to quit.