5 Reasons Millennials Still Smoke, Despite Growing Up 'Anti-Tobacco'

by Jenna Shnayerson

We all know smoking cigarettes is bad for us.

Yet, when I stand outside a bar or a party, I see my friends smoking. I'm even guilty of smoking one or two just to be “social.”

My friends and I are well-educated individuals who have sat through numerous health classes.

Time after time, we have been told smoking cigarettes is bad for both us and everyone around us who inhales our second-hand smoke.

We all know smoking cigarettes causes serious diseases, and it can significantly increase our risk of getting cancer.

Yet, our generation cannot seem to kick the habit.

According to, only 8 percent of teens still smoke. According to the website, “that’s down from 23 [percent] in 2000 and 9 [percent] from last year.”

Yet, in 2013, the Center for Disease Control issued a fact sheet, stating nearly 18 of every 100 adults aged 18 or older currently smoke cigarettes.

This means an estimated 42.1 million adults in the United States alone smoke cigarettes.

Here is a list of excuses we tell ourselves to justify our smoking habits, and why they are completely invalid:

1. “Smoking socially once in a while isn’t bad for me. I won’t die from the occasional cigarette.”

According to the National Institute of Health, the number of people who smoke daily is steadily decreasing, while the number of people who social smoke has significantly increased.

While this may sound somewhat promising, one needs to take into consideration that light smoking carries nearly the “same risk for cardiovascular disease as daily smoking."

Whether you just smoke a cigarette or two on the weekend or a pack a day, you're still risking several diseases, including cardiovascular disease, lower respiratory tract infection, cataracts and an increased risk of ectopic pregnancy.

2. “If it’s so bad, why is everyone still doing it?”

While it may seem like a bunch of people are doing it, they're not.

Years ago, cigarette companies would pay celebrities to smoke and endorse their products. Today, that's not allowed.

You'll rarely find a restaurant or bar that will allow you to smoke within 20 feet of the establishment.

Cigarettes are still used by many people, but the way cigarettes and the people smoking them are viewed is no longer glamorized.

Instead, many understand smoking is a terrible habit, and they will actually respect you for not smoking.

3. “That guy is so cute, and he smokes. I want to go ask him for a cigarette so I can start talking to him.”

Time after time, I hear my friends using this as an excuse to socially smoke.

They want to strike up a conversation with someone or show they're adventurous or a “badass.”

Of all the excuses to smoke, this is possibly the worst.

If a guy is smoking, don’t ask to smoke with him.

He might be addicted and smoke because he can’t help it. So if you ask for a cigarette, he could be turned off because he wants someone who doesn’t smoke to encourage him to quit.

If he smokes because he likes it, why do you want to start a relationship with someone whose mouth perpetually smells like an ashtray?

If you want the thrill of dating someone who is adventurous, go for someone with an obsession for motorcycles or bungee jumping.

Smoking cigarettes is not badass. It is actually dumb AF.

4. “I’m just smoking this week so I can fit into this dress. I don’t actually like it.”

It has often been said smoking curbs hunger. Nicotine, an addictive ingredient in cigarettes, is considered an appetite suppressant and stimulant, helping those who want to shed a few pounds.

However, like many fad diets, quitting the cigarettes will end up making you gain that weight right back.

If you want to lose some of those pounds, get healthy the right way. Fad diets never work.

Instead, they leave you hangry. You should also never risk your health in order to fit into a certain dress size.

5. “Marijuana is actually better for you than cigarettes. Sometimes, I just mix tobacco with my weed to make a spliff.”

Without going into a long debate about whether or not marijuana is more natural and better for you than tobacco, I would like to point out that anything mixed with nicotine is not good for you.

I would also like to point out that e-cigarettes, hookah and vape pens are not good for you, either.

Sure, they might not contain the thousands of chemicals found in regular cigarettes, but they do contain nicotine.

Nicotine isn't good for you in any form. It's an addictive ingredient that causes an addiction to tobacco products.