Teenagers, Cell Phones and Smoking

Posted By on March 22, 2006

Michael Mannion's Book CoverFinally a big positive out of the ‘phone text messaging’ craze. Most everyone exposed to teenagers around the world have seen them with their heads down clicking their cell phones … knowing they were communicating with another like soul somewhere in the ‘cellphone-isphere.’ A study pick up and published by the British Medical Journal indicates a correlation between a sharp rise in mobile phone ownership among teenagers and a decline in teen smoking. According to an article (Sydney Morning Herald) this downward trend has even “pre-dated a major government anti-smoking campaign.”

My conjecture is that teens often pick up the smoking habit to fulfill a social function and to keep their hands busy. Cellphones seem to do both: they can communicate while fidgeting with the keys and working their fingers. A teenage girl states, “When you are sitting by yourself, say on the bus … just get your phone out and play a game or something.” Another angle might be the demand for their limited supply of dollars, when it comes to clothes, phones, entertainment … perhaps tobacco is losing out? In Japan where cell phone ownership is nearly 100%, the health officials seem to corroborate this theory as they have noticed teen smoking rates plummet. “There was a high chance phone bills were being weighed up against the money they spent on cigarettes,” said Kenji Hayashi, the head of research at the Health, Labour and Welfare Ministry.

So before you gripe about kids and cellphones, consider they might be healthier long term solution to smoking. (click for a best selling book by Michael Mannion: “How to Help Your Teenager Stop Smoking“)


  • mike

    Perhaps they’re right and there’s a real correlation. I’ve also seen prices rise considerably on cigarettes– they’re taxing the cojones out of them.

    I can’t help but think of the deaf teen who got hit by a train while typing away and walking across a set of tracks. I think the main downside of the digital gadget age is the increase in auto-related injuries and fatalities.

    Oh, and I’m all too aware of how we keep on working even after-hours since we can so easily stay connected to work. CNN had a little blurb about this and showed a real estate agent showing a house on Christmas Eve. Boycott Engadget!! heheh

  • Mike says:
    > Boycott Engadget!! heheh

    Bite your tongue. 🙂 On the other hand, imagine how many more hours of productivity I could gain in a month ‘not’ reading Engadget or fidgeting with electronic toys.

Desultory - des-uhl-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee

  1. lacking in consistency, constancy, or visible order, disconnected; fitful: desultory conversation.
  2. digressing from or unconnected with the main subject; random: a desultory remark.