A Letter to Young Adults Considering Smoking

Dear All Part-Time Smokers,

This is a letter written directly to those who are sliping into nicotine addiction. Whether you are smoking too much socially, smoking every time you drink, or just smoking with your friends because there’s nothing else to do…just hear me out.

You probalby don’t have one definitive reason for why you’re smoking more these days, or why you’re thinking of becoming a full time smoker. I know I didn’t.

Maybe you like the mild head rush, perhaps you just like the feeling of the smoke hitting your lungs, or maybe you just enjoy the conversations that take place between smokers as they partake in their common ritual.

But whatever the reason, you are only enamored with the idea of smoking because it’s a NOVELTY. Most likely you’ve met a new group of friends who smoke, or you went away to school where your parents were nowhere near you. But no matter the case, it’s probably new, fun, and exciting right now.

friends - cigarette and a happy person
We’re Gonna be BEST FRIENDS

You feel like you’re part of an exclusive club that meets on porches and in garages and on stoops. For me, it was the stoop of our dormitory building, where we spent many a night chain smoking and hanging out. It was semi-fun, not as great as I would like to remember, and certainly not worth the toll my body took from 20 years of smoking from that point on.

Thinking of Buying Your First Pack?

Maybe you’re so excited by the different aspects of smoking that maybe you’re considering going out and buying a pack for yourself.

You have the logic all worked out perfectly in your head: “I need my own pack so I don’t have to bum them from other people anymore,” you tell yourself,   “Anddd…maybe so I can just have the occassional cigarette when I’m bored or stressed.”

This happened to me within my first 2 weeks of college. It was the 2nd week of being away from home and I had been hanging out with these guys from a fraternity on the weekends. And one fellow would always offer me cigarettes while we were drinking. I had only smoked a few cigarettes in my life, but hey, college! And man did these hit me like rocks.

The combination of beer and the cigarettes was very pleasant…for about 3 minutes before I chased after him for  another one. And after just two weekends of hanging out and smoking 4 total cigarettes, I was ready for a pack of my own.

woman and a cigarette in sunglasses
The Master Seduction Artist

The next day I walked across the street to the “Quality Dairy” convenience store and, knowing full well that this would probably seal my fate as an addicted smoker, I  bought my first pack of cigarettes. I knew exactly what I was doing and went against my gut instinct. And you’ll feel it too, and when you do I truly hope you have the willpower to just stay home.

After those first 20 cigarettes, I became nicotine’s b%$ch. I was addicted for 20 frustrating years. For each single cigarette I smoked of that pack, I spent a year puffing my lungs away on hundreds of packs, thousands of cigarettes. It’s insane.

But like I said, I’m not here to tell you what to do.

Okay, I lied.

Please , don’t do this. Every smoker alive today wishes they hadn’t done this.


Once you buy your own pack, all of the previous limitations are gone. You dont’ have to feel embarassed to ask somebody for one, you don’t have to wait until you’re around other smokers, and you are basically let free into the tobacco wilderness. And I’ll tell you right now it’s not a fun place.

When that fist pack empties, do you really think you’lll just be stand up proudly and say, “I finsihed it! That was fun. I’m going to go to bed, wake up in the morning and never smoke again.”

Hell no. Once that last cigarette is gone, you are jonesing to get to the nearest convenience store or gas station. Even on your first pack.

You know that nicotine is one of the most highly addictive substances on earth. You know how easy it is to get hooked. So please, if you choose one thing to say no to throughout your late teens and twenties, just say no to buying a pack of cigarettes.

Remember This Before You Head to the Gas Station:

Remember that life goes by much faster than you think it will

You’ve been told this before, maybe again and again, but that’s because it’s true. Today you may be a young 20 years old  who smokes 5 cigarettes a day, but before you know it, you could be a 45 year old mother with excruciating COPD, or become the father who never gets to meet his grandkids due to small cell lung cancer.

Remember That Your Age May Cause You To Think You Aren’t At Risk

I remembeirng rationalizing smoking through my college years. My reasonng was because, “Hey, it’s the prime of my life! I’m just going to smoke for four years straight and then quit after!” But I found out the hard way that the prime of your life will fade into the next phase of life, but the tobacco addiction 9 out of 10 times will not fade with it. It will remain, a dark spot on your life. You can enjoy the prime of your life without being addicted to a toxic, burning substance. You really can.

person being angry with cigarettes

Remember that all it takes is one pack of 20 cigarettes over the span of a week to become addicted

This isn’t science, just my own experience and what I’ve gathered after talking with countless smokers.It’s the first pack you buy that does you in. Every. Single. Time. And that one week, that box of 20 cigarettes, oh they will take on a butterfly effect of nightmarish proportions. That week may have been novel and fun because it was your fist week as a real smoker, but that quickly morphs into a controlling, needy, nagging voice in your head  and morphs your brain into thining that smoking is the number one priority for survival. How messed up is that?

Just Think Long Term and Learn to Say No

These are two skills that are vital to your growth as an adult, and they apply here as well. No possible benefit of smoking right now can make up for the shit you’ll have to deal with after you become addicted. If you want some motivation, read some quit diaries of those who have been smoking for years. You can feel their frustration and anguish come through their words on the screen. And it’s all because of that first pack.

If You Believe In Yourself and Use All of Your Willpower….You Can Be Like This Guy:

happy quitter


I Believe In You,

Nathan Green

Published: June 21, 2015


Leave a comment

2 comments on “A Letter to Young Adults Considering Smoking
  • Lee
    July 1, 2018 at 12:07 am

    I was about to get a pack and found this article.

  • Raquel
    October 30, 2017 at 11:05 am

    I’m so glad you wrote this. I’m 25 and started smoking around 15/16 finally quit for good. It’s been a little over a year and I’m not looking back! I always want to and try to encourage people not to smoke totally not even worth it.