The Psychology of Teen Smoking and How to Prevent it

What kind of idiot thinks that smoking makes them cool.
Smoking tells everyone you're NOT cool!

People think smoking is a way to BE cool.
But actually people smoke to PRETEND to be cool.
People that really ARE cool don't need to fake it.

And guess what, the people that are faking it, are the ones that
are blowing smoke. They walk around with little white
sticks that just advertise how insecure they are.

A cigarette in someone's hand is saying something. It's saying how
totally uncool this person really believes they are without their
little fake symbol that they can wave around and make the dummies that
haven't figured this out think they're cool.

A cigarette is a symbol, it says something. It says "I'm Cool".
But if you need a symbol to tell people you're cool, then guess
what. You're not cool.

Smokers know they're not cool. Duh, that's the whole point. They're trying to cover it up, that's why they smoke. But they got it backwards, because yes, a cigarette IS an advertisement. It advertises how you are insecure and fake and, hello, completely uncool.

How to Prevent Teen Smoking

Get this message out. Put it in your anti-smoking advertising campaigns. Does nobody realize how potent this message is? All the advertising about the unhealthiness of smoking misses the point. Smokers don't care if it's unhealthy. Unhealthiness is actually cool for a lot of people. What they care about is being cool.

So the point of antismoking advertising has got to be to take the coolness out of smoking. And the fact is, because smoking is a symbol of coolness used as a cover by the uncool, and because you can now use this to detect who are all the people that are definitely not cool, if we explain this to teenagers and put it into the public consciousness, then smoking's coolness will evaporate, and teens will not take up smoking in the same numbers.


Thomas C. Veatch
Last Modified: June 20, 2001