Smoking in the 21st Century

So here we are in the year 2010. I’m 33 years old and since at least the time I was in middle school I was educated about the health risks of smoking. So for more than twenty years people have been saying smoking will kill you and yet I see young people (in their twenties or younger) smoking. Hell there have been labels on the packs themselves saying exactly how dangerous they are to a person’s health. How is it possible that anyone born in the last 30 years would try smoking let alone try it enough times to develop a habit? At least in the past twenty or so years Florida laws have made it illegal for almost all indoor smoking and my lungs thank the people involved in that legislature. Also in the last twenty years the class action lawsuits in Florida against the tobacco companies have concluded with a win for the good guys. But that only helps those who don’t smoke. I am not suggesting that smoking be illegal as we all know prohibition doesn’t work and just causes more problems. But how do we get society to make smoking so undesirable that no one joins the habit. Based on the CDC’s fast stats, 21% of adults smoke and 20% of high school students.
I wish I had the answer. I saw a news story a month or so ago where NYC had raised the taxes on cigarettes and therefore the total price of a pack of cigarettes. They interviewed some people on the street and some of these people said that this would push them into quitting. Frankly, I don’t think a tax is going to conquer their addiction but I wish them the best of luck. I also hope NYC makes a ton of money off of those taxes and puts it to good use in educating people not to start smoking.
Of course education is not the answer either. Like I stated above I had been educated about the dangers of smoking since I was about eleven or twelve. I assume children are getting these admonitions from even earlier ages. So again I ask how is it possible young people start smoking? I guess the anti-smoking propaganda worked for me as I never started smoking.
Is it the “cool” factor? There are laws that disallow smoking advertisements on the TV or in most magazines Also you almost never see it in popular media as something that is “cool” or associated with a “cool” personality or role model (although they all probably smoke).

So this is a request for some valid explanation. I would really like to have a good discussion around this.

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