Peer pressure is one of the most common reasons young people give for starting to smoke. Your peers are the group of people around the same age as you, often with the same interests as you, and who may go to your school or college.
You may feel you need to fit in with them by doing and liking the same things as everyone else. Sometimes this is to get into the in-crowd, or out of fear of being bullied.
You may feel pressure to wear certain clothes, listen to a particular type of music, or maybe do something that damages your health, such as smoking.
Smoking is against school rules, so you risk getting into serious trouble with your teachers. Many parents (including those who are smokers themselves) don't want their children to smoke, because they have seen the way smoking has damaged their own health.
Some young people think these things make smoking more exciting, but it's worth considering that if so many people don't want you to smoke, there must be a good reason.
If your friends are putting you under pressure to smoke, even though you don't want to, think carefully whether they are the best people to hang around with. If they were really your friends they wouldn't bully you about smoking, they'd let you make your own decisions.
If you've only just started as a casual smoker, quit before you become part of the regular smoking crowd. The earlier you stop smoking, the easier it is to give up. You might even be able to get some of your friends to quit at the same time.
If you're being bullied, you should talk to someone you can trust, such as a parent, teacher, or friend.
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