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I don't want to be left out. What's the problem with smoking an occasional cigarette to be part of the gang?
Why is my bud trying to pressure me? I thought we were friends!
Why do the people who pressure me care if I say yes or no?
No way! First, cigarettes are super-dangerous, and they get you hooked fast. Nothing's worth smoking. You know most kids don't smoke—the ones who do just might be louder about it. Chances are you can find cool kids to hang out with who won't make you feel bad about not wanting to suck down something that smells and tastes terrible.
Chances are, your friend is caving into the same pressure you feel. Your friend might not even notice how uncomfortable it's making you. Next time you say no, you can say something like, "I've already told you I don't want to. I wish you would stop trying to get me to change my mind." You can explain that you feel dissed when your friend steamrolls over your refusal. Hopefully, she or he will apologize and stop. If not, you might want to give your friend a little space. It's not worth it to hang around with people who don't treat you well or respect you and your decisions.
Sometimes we discover things, and they're so cool we want our friends to share them with us—like how your friends might rave about a new book or sport. Sometimes, though, if friends are doing something they know they shouldn't be doing, they might want other people to go along so they don't feel so bad. There is usually safety in numbers, but in this case, there isn't. Six people can get just as hooked on cigarettes, or in as much trouble with their parents, as one person can.
- Division of Population Health/School Health Branch
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
4770 Buford Highway, Northeast, Mailstop K-27
Atlanta, GA 30341
TTY: (888) 232-6348
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