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« HINTS FOR LIVING IN THE USA | Main | Do You Have A Man of God in Your Life? »

Why Do Kids Smoke?


You don’t know?

Doesn’t everyone know why kids smoke?

Hmmm.  Let’s see.  Is it because they don’t care?

Are they stupid?

Do they like the taste, of cigarettes?

Are they hooked on nicotine?

Is it because it’s fun, cool, nom nom?


The answer is easy.

They do it…because WE TELL THEM NOT TO!

Yep.  Old-fashioned rebellion.

They do it just to show you they can.

They don’t have to listen to you.

Nobody is going to tell them what to do.  Not even if it is good for them.

Why did the children put beans in their ears when the one thing we told the children they must not do was put beans in their ears?

Why did the children pour molasses on the cat when the one thing we told the children they must not do was pour molasses on the cat? –Carl Sanburg 

Kids take warnings against smoking the same way they do older people telling them not to do anything else.  Rational thought evaporates.  All that’s left is a gut-level, visceral reaction to the prohibition.  Go ahead.  Say no.  You just egg them on.

This epiphanic moment happened while driving down the street close to a suburban high school.  Two boys, I would guess about sixteen years old, strolled along in their tee-shirts and jeans with cigarettes bouncing on their lips.  They looked a little baby-faced to me, clean-cut, no signs of gang status and seemed fairly conservative as kids go these days.  Bubble gum and Gatorade would have been more likely. 

No, I don’t mean that someone specifically forbade boys to smoke.  I speak in general terms.  It’s a generational thing; a disconnect between old fogies and cool youth; a resentment against authority that started with the archangel Lucifer.  The bottom line is rebellion, and you can’t reason with rebellion because it is a spirit.  “For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry” (1 Samuel 15:23).

The spirit of rebellion saturates our culture.  Many changes and new development in politics which now take place defy any and all logic.  Things don’t have to make long term sense anymore.  The change agents are clueless on how to connect the dots between proposed policy and real outcome. 

And so the establishment issues the orders:

  • Don’t use profanity.
  • Don’t engage in illicit sex. 
  • Don’t get abortions.
  • Don’t divorce your spouse for no reason.
  • Don’t live together without marriage.
  • Don’t do drugs.
  • Don’t drink.
  • Don’t drink and drive.
  • Don’t get involved in homosexuality.
  • Don’t get into pornography.
  • Don’t quit school.
  • Don’t quit your job.
  • Don’t tattoo your body.
  • Don’t get piercings all over your body.

Obviously, none of these prohibitions are working, even though sound, reasonable arguments exist that substantiate every one of them.  If logic was a factor, few of the above would happen. 

This is much scarier than it may sound.  Why?  Because rebellion in small things becomes rebellion in big things—for the same reason that it was rebellion against small things!  In other words, rebellion is always the operative word, without regard for the nature of the thing rebelled against.

  • Don’t shoplift.
  • Don’t lie, cheat or steal.
  • Don’t vandalize or destroy property.
  • Don’t rob a convenience store.
  • Don’t commit grand larceny.
  • Don’t kidnap.
  • Don’t extort, defraud or commit blackmail.
  • Don’t assault, beat or murder.
  • Don’t rape, molest or abuse.

Well, now, you say, surely there is a limit to rebellion, isn’t there?  If someone goes this far, they must have reasons other than rebellion.  Do they?

NEW YORK (CNN) February 20, 2009 — She said she had nothing left to lose when she handed the bank teller the hastily scrawled note. The “Barbie Bandits” are among the more famous of recent female bank robbers. Both were convicted.

“We’re armed,” the note said. “Don’t say anything. Just give us all the money.”

Moments later, the woman and her male accomplice raced from the bank, jumped in their car and sped off with $10,000 in cash.

“It felt powerful, exciting, quick,” said the woman, who spoke with CNN under the pseudonym Jane Smith. “At that time of my life, everything was upside down and I didn’t have any control.”

Smith told CNN she was going through a bad divorce and that robbing a bank “made me feel like I was in control again.” She is one of a growing number of female bank robbers, a crime normally committed by men.

Jane Smith, who is trying to rebuild her life after serving five years in a maximum security prison, agrees that while the holdup was exciting, it wasn’t worth it.   Still, she couldn’t help smiling as she recalled how the tire blew on the getaway car while she and her accomplice made their getaway.

“I kept going on the rims, sparks flying on the highway,” she said.

When she could drive no farther, Smith recalled, “I started flagging people down. All the money is on the floorboard of the car. One lady did pull over to pick us up and so I got the money and I stuffed it in my purse and could barely zip it. She took us to a convenience store close by and I called a taxi.”

She went on wild spending spree, going through most of the money before her arrest several days later.  She said she would never again rob a bank, because her arrest and incarceration nearly destroyed her parents and two kids.

But Smith admitted that the thrill was addictive. “I loved the danger in it. I wanted to get more money. I wanted to keep doing it. That’s how it really felt — an adrenaline rush. Perfect.”

They do it just because they can…and just because they are told they can’t.

What else are they told not to do?

  • Don’t destroy this country.
  • Don’t strip us of our individual liberties.
  • Don’t sell out the economic engine of capitalism.
  • Don’t rip the constitution to shreds.
  • Don’t nullify the Bill of Rights.
  • Don’t corrupt our voting process.
  • Don’t continually give privileges to people that they have not personally earned.
  • Don’t expand entitlements to the point that they are unsustainable.
  • Don’t run the nation into so much debt that we cannot pay it back.
  • Don’t disarm America to make us weak and vulnerable to our enemies.
  • Don’t make our military a joke.
  • Don’t turn your back on our allies.
  • Don’t make a mockery of our way of life.

But all they hear is “don’t.”

And all they reply is “watch me!”

And so we watch.

It doesn’t make sense.

Of course it doesn’t.

That’s not why they do it.

It is rebellion, full-grown and in control.

Got a match?

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Reader Comments (2)

I think you might be oversimplifying by attaching a single cause for any action. Some people picked up smoking because they were curious and wanted to see if it made them feel an altered state of mind, and really gave little thought to whether it was "prohibited" or not. They may or may not have rebelled against some authority in their life, but it needn't have been their primary motivation. It is true that some personalities are more susceptible to being contrary for its own sake, but this varies and isn't a universal value at the same volume for everyone.

Of course, my eye always catches these little nuggets :) :

"Don’t make our military a joke."

I don't know if you are referring to repealing don't ask, don't tell, but I would be careful about calling the Israeli military which permits openly gay people to serve, a joke. They're some pretty tough cookies. :)

October 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTim Garcia

I'm sorry; I must have misunderstood ,"Don't make "our" military a joke". I saw no reference to - gays .....

June 22, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSydney Heimericks

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