The Power Of A Lit Stick This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   Many girls in my high school smoke. It is rare to go into the bathroom and not find a couple of girls "lighting up." What makes people start this addictive habit? Don't they realize how harmful it is to their lungs? Why don't they just quit for good?

Several parents find themselves asking this question of their "young girls." Were the parents of these kids much older when they took their first "drag"?

I have asked myself these questions so many times that I owed it to myself to finally answer them,if not out loud, at least on paper.

The first time I ever picked up a "butt" was when I felt a loss of control in my life. I looked up to my mother as a person who knew what she was doing. She was in control of her life and mine. My mother had always smoked. Somewhere in my mind I associated smoking with control. I'm not saying that it's my mother's fault that I ever started, though, for she was not my only role model.

The older teen-age girls who hung around the stores puffing on cigarettes had an influence on me too. To me they were cool and looked like they knew it all.

My priorities are not straight. Relationships and styles tend to come before good grades and good health. To me, and to millions of other insecure girls out there, whether or not I make it through the week matters more at the time than whether or not I live a healthy life. Seeing what I am doing to myself causes me to put up my defenses with comments like: "So," "Who cares," "Yeah...and," "Please" and "Whatever!"

When kids do try to quit, they have a feeling of great loss of control. To experience everyday life without any security is very scary. Unless you are strong inside and learn how to gain power on your own, quitting can be impossible.

In the past two years, the number of ads used to sell this cancer-causing product has decreased. Now, through the media, people hear what they are doing to themselves. Older generations attest to of the damage that years of smoking causes.

What about the girls who have never tried a cigarette in their lives? They are the ones who who have other ways of gaining control, or maybe, control is not as important or necessary to them. Those girls are not uncool; they are the truly strong and tough ones, the ones we cigarette smokers want to be, whether or not we ever admit it.n


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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