NIDA for Teens: The Science Behind Drug Abuse
Find NIDA for Teens on: NIDAnews on Twitter NIDANIH on YouTube NIDANIH on Facebook

Real Teens Ask: Why Do Teens Who Smoke Think They Are So Cool?

Sara Bellum

Many teens have questions about drugs. On Drug Facts Chat Day, NIDA scientists get to listen in and answer these questions from students all across the country.

Here’s one fromzippy do dafrom Kingswood Middle School in New Hampshire:

Why do teens who smoke think they are so cool?

There could be many reasons why teens who smoke think they’re cool—maybe their friends smoke, maybe their parents told them not to smoke, maybe they think it gives them an edgy look, or a temporary high. But the truth is, as far as your health goes—smoking is so not cool.

And who defines cool anyway? What’s cool to one person may not be cool to another. Just as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, coolness is an individual decision. Not everyone thinks that doing something illegal or unhealthy because your friends are doing it is cool. Lots of teens would say its cooler to hold a pen, paintbrush, or drum stick between your fingers, instead of a cigarette.

When our parents were younger, many of them thought “the Fonz” from the hit TV show Happy Days was the epitome of cool. Pretty dorky now.

A button image of "The Fonz."

Image Courtesy of FCharlton

Today it seems like a lot of teen smokers are figuring out that smoking is not very cool at all. How do we know? Because according to a 2007 survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 50% of all high school smokers are actively trying to quit. And, according to the recent NIDA-funded Monitoring the Future Study of 8th, 10th and 12th graders, smoking among American teens is at an all time low.

Coolness is a funny thing. Some things are cool one year (or one minute!), and not the next. Other things are cool no matter how much time has passed. What’s cool is also influenced by your gender, age, where you live, and, most of all, by who you are. Check out how one high school student examined the cool factor as a science fair project—it even won her a cool prize. But don’t take our word for it—you decide.

Privacy and Comment Policy


I dont know... smoking is so not cool!

yeah it not cool

right on!! ("-")

I dont know… smoking is so not cool! .. dancing is so cool, singing .. and much more or playing games

I think that stop promote smoking in all avdvertising because copy behavior.


I don't think so smoking is cool. These children who thinks that smoking is cool are lack of parental guidance and advice. Maybe they saw there parents also smoking. Or there parents are too busy working that they could not ask a single second for advice. So they asked to other people but unfortunately they gave them a wrong advice.

Most teens want to act like they are mature enough, that's why smoking for them make them look matured and cool but that's not the exact point of smoking. Some people smoke for their own purposes, like some people can think and solve their problem while they are smoking alone. Cheers!

Luckily slowly but surely with your help we are teaching our young people that smoking is not cool at all.
Thank you - spread the word.

Teen who smoked feel that they have reached adulthood and ready to take the future in their own hand.

smoking is manily cause of peer pressure
most people say i wont be your best friend if you dont have one and stuff like that

I know that smoking is not cool! It messes up your brain and ruins your life. Right now im 15 and a lot of people think that smoking is like so so cool. I know a lot of people that do it ( even though theyre parents dont approve of it) and that doesnt bother them any. I think that they need to quit and im trying to help them. One thing that i ahd noticed is that when you talk to them they have a craving for it and also they cant quit. So I told them about this website and thanks to you guys they have quit finnaly! Im so glad that I have my real friends back!!

l Smoke BUt iDont think its cool

i think smoking is bad


I like this blog a lot. It is true that they feel that they are cool but it is wrong and they are not aware that they are spoiling their life. I regularly check it out for new updates.

i think that people that smock are so stooped and do not no the stuff it can do to u

Smoking is never cool . U never when about to die every time u smoke u still is killing ur self

I'm 14 and I smoke. I'm in great health, both physically and mentally. I'm a brown belt in karate and am in all advanced classes. I don't think smoking makes you cool. I smoke to calm down. I won't quit smoking.

You may be in "great" health now but by the time you are in your 20's it will really affect your life.
[deleted disrespectful references]

I'm involved with Karate and Martial Arts. They make it cool not to smoke. It's easier when you hang around others who think the same as you.

[commercial link removed, per guidelines]

I think if more people were involved in sports and MMA then less people would smoke.

Hang out with like minded people in a martial arts training environment and you will quickly quit smoking too like I did over 20 years ago.

[commercial link removed, per guidelines]

smoking is NOT cool because of all of its effects!!!!!!!!!!!!

:D :D :D :( :( :( :) :) :) XD xD to random?

i;m just ganna be like everyone else! xD smoking!! is sooo not cool, maybe they should promote the truth like smoking can shrinkin the size of your penis.

idont know why they smoke do u know why they do it beause i want to know "BE DRUG FREE"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Smoking actually is bad!! Like have you seen the commercial of people who smoked for a long time... they end up getting a hole in their neck to help them breath and they are tortured by not breathing well :( that's sad ... and I send this message to all teen smokers...

the only thing i hate is the people who smoke.people think there so cool but there not

Omg u won't get a hole in ur neck!!! N I'm in advanced classes n I smoke. I have good health! Yea I get sick sometimes but everyone does NOT just smokers. I know people who don't smoke and they get sick MORE then I do. A lot of people just over react about smoking. Yes I do agree it's bad to smoke but u won't get a ole in ur neck. I posted this bcuz I hate how people over react and make stuff up like that. It's annoying cause it's NOT true!!

smoking isn't cool just because you don't smoke does'nt mean you can't hang out with the cool kids. besides what makes the think they are cool? SMOKING!!!!!!!!!??????? NO!!!!!! Maybe you wanna live longer.

smoking is like SO NOT COOL NOT NOT COOL

i agree with all ya guys it way not cool

I swear, I will NEVER EVER smoke in my entire life! >_< My family members have died from grandpa drowned in his own fluids. It was really sad. I made a vow that I would never smoke....

Yeah, smoking is so uncool!

I know smoking is not cool...thats one of the reasons we smoke. To not conform, relax, boredom, and my favorite reason to smoke is to practice smoke tricks!! I love going out on break at work and blowing smoke rings and relaxing after working. And yes I am a GIRL! :)

My friend smoke I wish they can spot but they want. I wish I can help them. I use to smoke but know I don't. I think it was cool because my friend dose it. My sister friend told my mom and dad that I smoke. I got I trouble. So don't smoke.

(read sarcasticly) cause every body just loves to walk around coughing their lungs out

I am 26 btw.
I hate when kids (around 12-15) say i use to smoke, but i quit. OR, I smoke, and I am healthy. OR "crave a smoke when im in school, so i cant quit. You are 14! You are NOT addicted! You are healthy still, becuz you only have been smoking for "MAYBE" a year! And you quit becuz you are not addicted! I have been smoking since i was 17, and i have quit smoking for about 1 month, and I couldnt take it. The longer you smoke, the more addicted you will become, and the more un-healthy you will become. It takes awhile for you to become addicted to ciggs. It dont happen overnight, or a week, or even two weeks. I use to smoke to relieve stress, but now i am just so addicted, and so use to smoking, and keep doing it. But smoking does relax me. But i think thats just becuz i am so use to smoking.

@TheTechGenius You make a good point about nicotine—it is an extremely addictive drug and, like all drugs of abuse, the transition from casual use to addiction can come at any time, depending on the person. 

O.k You people Change your reactions just by reading this simple article.I Don't smoke and i promised my self i never will its no biggie i just don't like the fact the smoking what ever that is you smoke is just a bad idea.I mean like these kind of things are useless. Everything in life takes its place.Smoking to me is rather stupid. I know i'm no god to tell why smoking is wrong or why smoking is cool. But my basic point that i'm trying to say that the word cool has changed everybody's dictionary on the word cool. Just think about it cool is another refrence for the word cold or in otherwise chill. By all means you can keep smoking but in so many ways its never going to help you can say its medicine. No its non-sense and it gets me mad Trust me any kind of drug/Smoking suppliments are very bad for you in so many ways. So use your brain and think (Why should I spend my time smoking when there's no cause)

so not cool to smoke not cool -_- only because of the effects and its a waste of money...
Smoke is not good for health. Do exercises is the best thing. Does not matter what exercise you like, walk, run, [commercial link deleted, per guidelines] or anything else is good for your body, is good for your mind.
Smoking is the key to this economic struggle think about it.... how many people die from lung cancer smoking marijuana? It is also a drug that mutates cells for people with cancer, it has SOME benefit if used by the correct person so why not tax and regulate???? ONLY for those who need it, that is my perspective.

Add new comment

Plain text

  • Allowed HTML tags: a
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.