The influence of celebrities on youth smoking

There is so much brouhaha in the media about youth and their drug problems and how much young people are increasingly becoming dependent on smoking that many people forget that there is still an older generation who have a problem with it as well.
L-R : Jean Claude Van Damme lighting up. ; supermodel Kate Moss ; Kanye West smoking a cigar ; prince harry.
L-R : Jean Claude Van Damme lighting up. ; supermodel Kate Moss ; Kanye West smoking a cigar ; prince harry.

There is so much brouhaha in the media about youth and their drug problems and how much young people are increasingly becoming dependent on smoking that many people forget that there is still an older generation who have a problem with it as well.

Young people today look up to celebrities in a multitude of ways. They teach them how to dress, talk and behave. But what happens when you take looking up to someone to a whole different level? Disaster.

The youth try to mimic the celebrities. When they watch music videos, and see mega-stars such as Snoop Dogg or Rick Ross smoke cigars in their songs, they think its cool and start smoking right away.

According to Isaac Bizimaana 28 a taxi driver, smoking in movies is the biggest reason young people begin smoking.

“There’s a link between smoking in movies and what the young people do; there’s a lot of smoking in movies and the music videos, it’s extremely prevalent,” he said.

For Jean Marie Kaitare 20, an S.6 student at Kagarama Secondary School, instead of the movies and music videos entertaining the youth, they are instead negatively impacting their lives.

“This is because of the impressionable picture they create on the minds of youths; for instance, making smoking cigarettes and doing other drugs seem like it’s glamorous,” he said.

It is reported that the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta found out that an increase in high-school-age smoking is due to the tobacco use per hour in films.

To Melissa Munyana 29, a hair stylist at Babes and Guys saloon in Nyamirambo, celebrities in the movies and the music videos, who are seen to be smoking, influence the young people to do it.

She stressed that music videos are produced to entertain the viewers. They are shown in televisions and cinema films. They are meant to entertain both the young and the old. It is very hard to simply quit smoking because the young people are so obsessed with the entertainment.

“Smoking is an extremely tough habit to break, unless the celebrities stop smoking in movies and the music videos” she noted.

Despite laws to protect young people from tobacco smoking, powerful pro-smoking signals are reaching youth through the loophole of Hollywood movies and the music videos, in which glamorous stars are seen to be smoking more.

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