Smoking not cool or sexy, say most teens in new survey
Most youngsters think smoking is not cool and over half of older teens say that sex with a smoker is a no-no, a survey by I&O research has shown.
Just over 1,000 youngsters between 12 and 18 participated in the survey which was carried out on behalf of anti-smoking lobby Gezondheidsfondsen voor Rookvrij.
The main reason for not (taking up) smoking is health-related, the survey shows, followed by cost. ‘You will die sooner’ one respondent said, while youngsters who smoked said it made them cough and gave them yellow teeth.
The survey shows the glamour formerly associated with smoking does not have much traction among young people anymore. Some 80% said smoking is not cool, with 41% of smokers endorsing the statement.
And while 85% said they would rather not be in a relationship with a smoker, 66% said they would not have sex with someone who lights up. Over half of smokers said they had trouble finding a boy or girlfriend due to smoking.
In general, maintaining social relationships is more important than smoking for teens, researchers concluded. Some 43% of the respondents said they would give up if someone close to them were ill and 54% said they would rather give up smoking for a month than not see their friends for that time.
Cost played a role as well. Eight in 10 said upping the price of cigarettes – which went up by one euro on April 1 to €8.20 a pack – would be a good way of preventing youngsters from taking up smoking. Three quarters of the respondents said it would encourage smokers to stop.
Over half of the smokers (59%) said they would stop if the price of cigarettes were to go up to €10 while 90% said they would quit if they had to pay €15 for a pack. The average amount spent by young smokers is €364, which would go up to €416 with the new one euro tax.
In a reaction junior health minister Paul Blokhuis said the the survey did not only provide good advice to teens who want to date but that a smoke-free generation is now on the horizon. ‘It cannot happen soon enough,’ he told the AD.
‘Hundreds of children are hooked every week and it’s great to see it is no longer the norm among teens, and that upping the price of cigarettes is a good tool to combat smoking,’ Michael Rutgers, chairman of Gezonheidsfondsen voor Rookvrij said.
In the next few months more measures to discourage smoking will be taking effect, including a ban on smoking on school or university premises from August 1 and neutral packaging from October. Menthol cigarettes have been banned completely since May 20.
The anti-smoking measures are part of the government drive to improve public health.
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