Teenage Girls Want Cigarettes More
The gap grew to 10 percent in 2004 with 26 percent of 15 year old girls who smoked compared with 16 percent of boys. The difference has shrunk since then, but in 2009 girls are more likely to smoke than boys.
There is a synergy between changes in self-image of girls and wiles of the tobacco industry. Smoking, said a team of researchers, is a way in which some teenage girls express their resistance to the feminine identity of a “good girl”.
In 2011, when Kate Moss created a controversy by smoking on the catwalk of Louis Vuitton and Lady Gaga broke the law by smoking on stage.
What is different today is the technique of “dark marketing” used by the tobacco industry since the death of “above-the-line” advertising in 2002. It appeals for girl fantasy.
Young women seem to be very susceptible to persuasion from the tobacco industry. Susie, 15, started smoking two years ago. “That’s a common thing and everyone began to experiment. You think, ‘Ooh, I’m more cool, ooh I smoke. I felt grown up and with the crowd.'”
Vanessa, 15, recalled that “It gives me a sensation, and impress my friends.” Becca, 21, became a regular smokers at age of 15. “We’ll come out and lie about our age and think smoking makes us look more mature.”
Janne Scheffels, a Norwegian researcher, recently argued that teenage girls smokers see it as a sort of “buffer” of adult appearance, how to cross the boundary between childhood and adolescence, and moving away from parental authority.
Adolescent smokers, according to the theory, typically suffer from a lack of self-esteem. The reality is more complex. A further study found that smoking is your position in the group of “top girls” – high status, popular, fun-loving, rebellious, confident, cool. Non-smokers mostly seen as more thinking and less risk.
Smoking, said Vanessa, is also binding. You start a conversation with a stranger when you ask a lighter for smoking – a social lubricant that is attractive for adolescents. But the center of teenage smokers is during recess: They are building a smoking identity of a girl .
Sara, 14, said: “That is when it starts to get used to, when I started going out at lunch and recess, at the corners of the school where everyone smokes. You become less close to the people who do not smoke.”
Some girls smoke for emotional reasons. Smokers are more prone to anxiety and depression. Smoking is a way to cope with stress. Teenage girl suffering from “teenage angst” are two times more than boys, according to reports from Demos research institute.