Preempting the New Year’s Resolution
Madness - #1 Quit Smoking, Before You Start
By Kayla Lemar
It's 2011. And with it has come the long list of New Year's
Resolutions each of us drafted during December.
While drudging up a list of my own I did a little research on what
everyone else in the world wanted to do with their 2011. I found
twelve priority resolutions that year after year people post on the
web, write in their diaries, and paint on their bedroom walls: #1 quit
smoking, #2 lose weight, #3 manage debt, #4 help others, #5 enjoy life
more, #6 learn more, #7 get organized, #8 fall in love, #9 spend time
with family and friends, #10 get a better job, #11 manage stress, and
Twelve must be a lucky number, because Professer Wiseman of the book
Quirkology: The Curious Science of Everyday Lives reports only 12% of
us keep the New Year’s Resolutions we make.
Why the low success rate? Well, in that list are two types of
resolutions: a) you have a problem that needs fixing, and b) you want
to do something you’re not doing. Both of those are hard knocks,
because a) changing something you’ve made part of your identity is
difficult, and b) so is adding something to your identity that you
don’t have room for.
Then I made an exciting discovery: some of us are still young!
so young that we don’t have to struggle through the negativity and
identity crisis adults do to fix some of those things that need
fixing. We’re also young enough to keep room for the things that
adults are always wanting to add. Us young ones can preempt the New
Year's Resolution madness!
So, teens, let’s start with #1: Quit
smoking. Since 90% of smokers start as kids, and 3,900 kids start
every day, I won’t waste any time with the answer:
Don’t start smoking.
Avoid cigarettes at all costs. Walk on the other side of the
street if an un-smoked pack is lying on the sidewalk.
Put a blindfold on when you walk into the gas station, or squint at the
cashier when you’re buying bubble gum so you can avoid seeing the
cigarettes behind her. Honestly, it doesn’t matter if she thinks
have a lazy eye or a nasty twitch. It’s okay.
Good, because it is.
If you’re still not 100% sure, let’s go through a decision making
process together. Let’s list all the positives and negatives we
think of. Why do I want to become a smoker? Why do I want
gasoline, and tar rolled in a piece of paper becoming part of my
identity? Feel free to add bullets to the lists I’ll begin for
- I feel mature, tough, cool.
- Cigarettes are a signature for mature, tough, cool kids.
- My role model smokes. I want to be just like him/her.
- I lose weight, or stay thin.
- They make me mellow.
- I feel relaxed after I smoke, until I start craving another one at
- Cigarettes can be as addictive as cocaine or heroine. Some of
us are trapped by the first one.
- I’ll be spending an extra $30 a week if I smoke a pack a day.
That’s over $1,500 a year, $105, 000 in my lifetime.
- Cancer. It kills people, lots of people. It could kill me.
- It will decrease my athletic performance. And I want to make
soccer team. I should also think about that if I’m planning on a
football scholarship to Ohio State.
- Smoking one pack a day will double the cost of my life insurance as
- The blinds in all my houses will turn yellow, and the white paint
- I’ll spend over $2,000 on professional carpet cleaning and painting
if I want my house to look and smell nice again.
- Bad breath. Ever tried kissing someone who smokes? No,
I’m not really all that excited about it, either.
- My health insurance will be $552 more each year of my life.
- I’d be susceptible to high blood pressure, bronchitis, and emphysema.
- House insurance for nonsmokers usually costs 10% less. I’ll lose out.
- My teeth will turn yellow, and Listerine Whitening Strips cost $14,
for two weeks, then what? Professional whitening can cost $200
- I will spend $45- $130 more a year for house insurance as a smoker,
because cigarettes cause house fires.
- Cigarettes change my natural mood. I’m not sure I’d know who I
really was if I was smoking.
- Social security money will be taken out of my check each month, and
if I die young from a smoking-related disease, I’ll never receive any
of it back.
- It affects my heart, lung, stomach, and nervous system health.
- Nineteen states have no laws protecting smokers, and a few companies
like Union Pacific, Tacamo-Pierce County Health Department, and Alaska
Airlines don’t hire smokers. I wonder if that will become a trend.
- Lung disease. Have you seen those nasty pictures of blackened
- High end cars for at least $1,000 less if I smoke regularly in them.
Interior cleaning still costs $150 extra when I go to sell.
- There’s a good chance my throat could always be itchy. What if
start on a coughing fit in the middle of my best friend’s wedding
- My smoking costs others, too. The typical American household
pays $630 a year in federal and state taxes because of smoking.
I don’t know about you, but I’m thinking I’ll go with the cashier
thinking I have a nasty twitch.
By the way, I did make a New Year’s Resolution. It is to search
these twelve things adults get stumped on, and fix them now. Join
kids, and maybe by 2012 we will have decided on taking a year to avoid
the pitfalls of our parents… could save us loads on car insurance.
(When we pass the license exam, that is.)