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Reasons People Smoke and Why People Want to Quit Smoking

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These days smoking has become more of a serious problem in New Zealand. People are getting more and more concerned about it. When you walk around the Auckland city centre, you can see that almost every twenty meters, there is at least one person smoking or preparing to smoke. This research proposal will discuss three reasons why people smoke; such as the psychological effects and how nicotine affects the human brain. Family influences, how seeing family members who smoke can influence one’s decision to smoke. Social influences, peer pressure and friends influence or does one simply decide if they want to start smoking on their own? Also, we will be seeing if there are any efforts made by smokers to quit smoking and are there efforts effective? We aim to answer the following proposed statistical research question: Why do people smoke? Based on our three focus areas we will conduct an online survey and analyse the findings to answer our research question. Variables that we plan to measure are age of smokers (What age did they start smoking?), what influences smokers to start smoking, how many times do they smoke a day and so on. The duration to collect responses would be approximately 8-10 days and our sample size will be 100, we plan to conduct a survey through random sampling process to reach our target of 100 people. Our concerns will be if people are going to be honest in answering the questions and if they will worry too much about confidentiality. Also, if survey questions along with choices of answers would relate to respondents and not be limited.


Psychological Effects

Smoking addiction is caused by nicotine, nicotine is the main substance in cigarettes. Nicotine is a stimulating and potent sympathomimetic alkaloid that makes people addicted and difficult to quit (Volkow, 2012). Nicotine dependence is associated with tolerance, sensitivity, physical dependence, and psychological dependence. Nicotine increases the level of dopamine in the brain, making it pleasant, and excessive inhalation of smoke can cause nicotine poisoning. Another chemical that causes addiction in tobacco is called acetaldehyde, which enhances the effects of nicotine on the human brain.

Another side to the psychological effects is the withdrawal symptoms from trying to quit smoking. Nicotine withdrawals affect different people in many different ways. It can be quite the bad experience for some. This could be the reason why people continue to smoke instead of quitting. People who quit cold turkey usually have worse symptoms than those who take a cohesive approach, with counseling, support systems, and smoking aids (Martin, 2019)

Family and Social Influence

Family and social influence are quite important parts which will affect people to smoke. Some people started smoking at a very young age, the average age of starting smoking is 14.8 years-old. The study found that the smoking rate of children who started smoking in their 20 years old was 29 percent. The smoking rate among children whose parents have never smoked is 8 percent. As a result, we can see that most people who smoke are mostly influenced by their family.

Children’s curiosity and learning ability is very strong, so parents’ habits will affect children’s habits. “A new research shows adolescents whose parents smoke are more likely to become smokers, even if their parents quit smoking before they are born. Younger older siblings are also more likely to smoke” (Vuolo, 2013). In the long-term smoking of parents, the oldest siblings also smoke, which increases the probability that young siblings will smoke. On the other hand, a lot of harmful gases are produced in a house that has been smoking for a long time. The pollution left after the smoke is exhausted will accumulate on the sofa carpet, which will affect the health of the family.

Social influences is one of the most important aspects that makes people smoke. According to one 2009 report, there are at least one-third of all cigarettes smoked are smoked in social situations. Some people will be more likely to smoke by themselves when they see someone else is smoking. The report also shows that no matter that people is a frequent smoker or an occasional smoker, the pattern will still hold up. Depend on the recent surveys from the United Kingdom, socializing is one of their main reasons to smoke, this happens especially under the age of 35. Those “social smokers” don't smoke when they are alone, they will normally smoke at parties to blend into the crowds.

People would like to develop the habits which most people do, so that they will not be isolated. Most “social smokers” will not consider them as a smoker, they only smoke occasionally and maybe they will only consume 1-2 cigarettes per day. Their reasons for smoking is to socialize and make friends. However, social smoking still impact on their own health. “When I ask parents if they smoke, the answer is often no. However if I drill down a bit further and ask “do you ever smoke occasionally?”. I tend to get a different answer and some parents admit to being a “social smoker”, or “only smoking when out socialising with friends”. (Dr Cox,2019). People are all aware that smoking is bad for them, but they should be aware that taking only one or two cigarettes is still harmful for their body. Another reason for social issue of smoking is social difficulties. In recent years, researchers have been taking a closer look at the emotional and social aspects of tobacco use. Studies show that people who have social difficulties or other disadvantages by society are much more easily to smoke. The people who have social difficulties are twice as likely to smoke compared to people without social difficulties.

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Upon all the information above, we can know that children’s curious, socialize and social difficulties will influence people to smoke. If there are any efforts made by smokers to quit smoking and are there efforts effective? 'Giving up smoking is the easiest thing in the world. I know because I've done it hundreds of times.' —-Mark Twain

Nowadays, more and more people start to become aware that smoking is bad for their body, but with the effect of physiology, to quit smoking will make them feel uncomfortable. Smokers trying to quit only once every 2 to 3 years and most do not use proven treatments (Hughes, 2003). Smoking has to be one of the hardest habits to stop, along with coffee drinking. Once someone decides to stop smoking there seems to be too many alternatives to replace the so-called cancer stick. There are nicotine patches, nicotine gum, nasal sprays and so on. In my opinion, most people who try to quit smoking fail because they have trouble replacing one bad habit with a good one and/or because they are too afraid or too proud to ask for support. Being too proud is a common flaw in New Zealand culture. It is not uncommon for people to not honour their commitment to quit smoking, for most people it just isn’t realistic for them to quit. Smoking is bad for people’s health and environment. More than 8 million people die from tobacco use every year and non-smokers can also be influenced by tobacco. Second-hand tobacco smoke contributes to heart disease, cancer, and other diseases, there are approximately 1.2 million deaths annually caused by second-hand tobacco. The World Health Organization and global partners decide to celebrate World No Tobacco Day(WNTD). This activity is to raise awareness on the harmful effects of tobacco use and second-hand smoke exposure. Also, social smoking-cessation meetings start all around the world to give a further warning to smokers that cigarettes were endangering their health. The government also enforce the laws that people can’t smoke inside the room, public areas or at the smoke-free areas, and increase the price of cigarettes to stop people buying. These social activities and the support of government will help a lot of people to quit smoking or smokeless.


Smoking has been around for a very long time. Through our research we will discuss the reasons why people smoke. Three variables we have chosen to focus our research on; are the psychological effects of smoking, the social pressures of smoking and smoking within the family. We will gather information by creating an online survey using survey monkey. We will be using survey monkey because it is easy to use for the participant as well as the researcher.

We will be using simple random sampling methods to ensure fair representation of our data. We will be sharing the survey over Facebook so a random group of people can complete it. We have a diverse group so we will have different responses from people of various backgrounds. Our group hopes to get 100 returned completed surveys. We will be using Lottery Random Sampling to generate the 100 surveys we hope to get for our sample size (Crossman, 2019). This is to ensure that despite how many responses each person gets we will have a fair representation across the total surveyed population. Each of us will choose 25 responses so that our results are random, non-prejudice and gives everyone an equal chance.

We hope to have a sample size of 100. We think this is a fair representation of data. However, we understand that it is entirely luck how many responses we get. To ensure we have enough data, we will be running our survey for approximately one week. We will then use the sample size equation to find the perfect sample size for our population of survey participants (Qualtrix, 2019)

We do have concerns about the methodology of this research proposal. Participants may be untruthful and may not want to answer all of the questions. This leads to compromised results. Another concern will be that we don’t reach our target of 100 responses. This means we are left with an inadequate amount of data to answer our statistical research question.


Our group are confident that the three areas we’ve chosen to focus our research proposal on will determine the answer to our statistical research question- Why do people smoke? To do so, we will create our online survey and gather enough data using all our variables that we have put in to the survey and with the hope our survey participants are honest, answer all the questions and our questions relate to all of our participants.

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Reasons People Smoke and Why People Want to Quit Smoking. (2022, Jun 16). Edubirdie. Retrieved December 5, 2023, from
“Reasons People Smoke and Why People Want to Quit Smoking.” Edubirdie, 16 Jun. 2022,
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