Smoking And Drinking A Fad Among Youngsters

 

For the last 1 or 2 years I have been noticing teenage girls standing outside tea stalls and smoking. They clasp a cup of hot tea in one hand and a burning cigarette in the other. I am not able to understand what they are trying to prove or whom they are trying to prove wrong. Do they think they are making a style statement? Or are they just aping men? This got me thinking and I am just not able to take my eyes and mind off them.

Drawing the cigarette into their mouth, they puff out smoke in circles. Mind you, these girls don’t look a day older than 16 or 17. The same thing can be said of drinking too. Young girls guzzling beer and alcoholic drinks in pubs and restaurants have become common too.

Please don’t get me wrong. I am all for women’s empowerment. But how and where do smoking and drinking fit in? I ponder. Could it be the gentle breeze of feminism that is ruffling youngster’s feathers? Fighting for one’s rights and fighting to get a firm and equal foothold in society is one thing. But trying to make a point by smoking and drinking is an altogether different ball game.

Unfortunate but true the trend is fast picking up.

“Mamma, these things are very common in college. I don’t feel the need to smoke and drink to be accepted by my peers or to be considered cool. My focus is on my studies and everything else takes a backseat. Whenever I feel stressed, I groove to loud music and within minutes I am good to go”, my daughter elucidated as I looked at her with pride in my eyes.  Am I glad that my now, not-so-little one has chosen to take the road not so taken by a majority of teenagers? Glad? I am thrilled.

There has been a 56% spike in the prevalence of smoking among girls aged 15 and 19 years. This is certainly a disturbing trend.

I don’t understand what prompts them to get into these dangerous addictions.

Never miss real stories from India's women.

Register Now

One thing that crops up in my mind is the need for young girls to show that they are equal to boys in all respects. If a boy can do it, why can’t a girl follow suit? They fail to understand that this in no way helps reduce gender biases in society. Smoking and drinking are more harmful to girls than to boys. But why the need to prove gender equality by jeopardizing one’s health?

What needs to be considered here is a woman can never be equal to a man. The simple reason is that they are not meant to be equals. They are made different and they will always remain different. If a need arises to show that they are as capable as men then why not choose a different field, work hard, and show results? It could be in sports, academics, or other extracurricular activities.

Peer pressure also leads to teenagers being initiated into the habit of smoking. It is considered cool and ‘hip’ if you hold a cigarette between the cusps of your two fingers, it is considered ‘happening’ if you raise a shot and drink it down in one gulp at parties.

I feel partly social media, cinema, and OTT platforms are also to be blamed for propagating smoking and drinking. A hero without a cigarette or a drink in his hand is a zero?

Shah Rukh Khan once boasted in an interview that he smoked about 100 cigarettes in a day. So, what comes from their heartthrob’s mouth, either circles of smoke or rosy words is accepted as the ‘in thing’ without giving it much thought.

Increased stress levels are also a factor that is attributed to young girls taking up smoking and drinking. These seem to be the coping mechanisms to handle exam stress and competition. 20 lakh students had registered for NEET 2023. Out of the 20 lakhs, 11.8 lakhs were female candidates. The total number of MBBS government seats is 48000. If these statistics don’t reveal the stress levels among candidates, then what does? And almost a similar scenario exists for JEE Advance level exams.

Youngsters seem to overlook the fact that exercise, yoga, and breathing exercises are not only the best but also the cheapest ways of coping with stress. If this information comes straight from the horse’s mouth, I mean to say if they hear it from their role model then it would certainly make a huge difference. It is in these situations that sports stars and film stars can rise as true heroes in the eyes of the public.  They will surely stand up as true ‘jawans’. Their say matters a lot and would leave a lasting impression on the impregnable minds.

 

Most teenage girls are armed with the latest mobile, tablets, and laptops. Apart from spending time scrolling down social media apps if they spare a few moments to google the harmful effects of smoking and drinking it would do them some good.

Girls addicted to smoking and drinking are likely to have issues with their monthly cycles, leading to hormonal imbalances. One in five Indian women suffers from PCOS.

A chance meeting with a leading gynecologist in Thane, Maharashtra brought an important fact to the forefront. “Every 1 in 10 women are today suffering from PCOS. Thanks to the lifestyles youngsters follow, in another 10 years young women would stop menstruating altogether,” she stated blatantly as a matter of fact.

Women are more likely than men to be affected by pulmonary diseases. Women who smoke also face various pregnancy-related issues, apart from of course cancer and heart ailments.

Under the Prohibition of Smoking in Public Places Rules, 2008, smoking in public places is prohibited and violation of this act is punishable. But is this rule stringently implemented? Are fines levied on smokers- both men and women?

I feel the responsibility of keeping a tab on teenagers’ smoking and drinking habits vests with society at large. Parents, teachers, and the government need to act on this together. Counseling sessions at schools and colleges stressing the ill effects of nicotine and alcohol addiction could certainly help.

Let the young minds carve a niche for themselves in a field of their choice. Let them not carry the burden of their parent’s unfulfilled dreams. Just set them free and watch them soar!

So, go on girls, raise a good, strong cup of tea in one hand and fan the spark of your dreams in your heart, into a flame with the other. Clasp the will to work hard towards your dreams snugly in the cusps of your hands, and don’t rest till you let it see the light of day.

 

 

 

 

se add the entire text of your post here. Do not share a link or attach a word doc

Comments

About the Author

Vidya Sanath

I am a certified digital content writer. I enjoy reading and writing. My thoughts effortlessly cascade down into ripples of short stories and poems. For me, writing has proven to be cathartic. Fitness and diet read more...

8 Posts | 15,168 Views

Stay updated with our Weekly Newsletter or Daily Summary - or both!

""
All Categories