Reality Check

January 19, 2013
As I head past the corridor on my way to sixth period, I hear snickers pierce the air. Out of the corner of my eye, I spot a pair of teenagers ducking behind the red brick building, getting a secret nicotine fix. Their voices, their grins seem triumphant. They exhale, blowing billows of smoke that rise and blend with the pale sky. They throw their heads back and laugh a little more. No one's caught them today, they say. “Success!” one proclaims, high-fiving the other.

All through class, try as I might, I cannot wrap my brain around the teacher's discussion on parametric equations. I can only seem to think about my generation, my kin in a sense, one and the same. I think about those two young folks with every opportunity, with the intricacy of the world still unraveling before them one day, one lab experiment, one textbook at a time. Yet they only seem to find delight in futures of lung cancer, low bone density, coronary heart disease, pharyngeal cancer, chronic bronchitis, emphysema, esophageal cancer, atherosclerosis, and death.

Those two teenagers relish in their deadly defiance. They think their sly efforts have been victorious this time around. But reality is a tricky entity. It seems safely tucked away when one is young, but each negative choice unveils it little by little, until the cover is ripped off and you’re standing face to face with the frightening truth. Smoking wrecks.

We cannot journey through life conveniently disregarding the reality of teenage smoking. Instead, we must educate this generation about the harmful effects, illuminate the healthier life course, and help all realize their true potential. There are so many positive marks our generation could be making on this world. Smoking isn't one of them.

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