Teens stomp out smoking addiction

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By Maureen Dunn

As teen smoking continues to be a problem, organizations associated with MTV have launched campaigns to bring the addiction to a halt. (Photo by Kacie Leach)
As teen smoking continues to be a problem, organizations associated with MTV have launched campaigns to bring the addiction to a halt. (Photo Illustration by Kacie Leach)

You’ve probably seen them…the MTV commercials created in conjunction with truth.com that ask teens to #finishit and end teen smoking permanently. MTV started the campaign in order to spread the word on how close the nation is to ending teen smoking for good.

According to thetruth.com in 2000, 26% of teenagers smoked tobacco in the U.S. alone. Now, the number has gone down to 9 percent. The commercials of MTV’s End to Teen Smoking Campaign have gone viral over the country.

“I think that we can get down to zero percent if we make stricter rules on smoking and make it harder for teenagers to reach it. With that, I’m pretty sure that we can accomplish the end to teen smoking,” Taylor Byrd, junior, said.

Many well-known celebrities such as Zayn Malik, Kristen Stewart, and Lana Del Rey have been photographed with cigarettes in their mouths, causing the tobacco sales to skyrocket. The saddest part is people don’t even know how much of an impact they have on the younger generation, especially celebrities that have millions of teenagers idolizing them.

“Ideally, this generation can do anything it sets its mind to. Realistically, the images of popular media exert such an influence on teenage behavior, that as long as reality TV stars and rappers comprise this generation’s role models, I question the ability to completely kick the habit,” said Mr. Hurt, English teacher.

“Monkey see, monkey do.” The same goes for everyday life. Children will imitate what they see and, if what they see is a celebrity smoking a cigarette, then that is what they will likely become. The addiction is hard to beat, but if teenagers band together and realize that the taste is not worth it, then this generation can be the last to push money at tobacco companies and put cigarettes between our teeth.

“I think that what MTV is doing is really awesome. It’s getting teenagers more aware of smoking. I’m not so sure if the end to teen smoking is, near but I would like to see it happen,” Amanda Lewis, junior, said.

You can spread the word through social media with the hashtag ‘#finishit’ to join the movement.