When I was younger, the media was very focused on being slim, skinny and waif like – think Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell etc. Nowadays the media are pushing the fitness angle – Kim Kardashian, Kylie Jenner – celebrities who are more curvy but are also healthy and strong. And for that generation this means exercising well, eating right and not taking up unhealthy habits like smoking or drinking to excess. Obviously there are still plenty of young people doing these things, but the overall trend is varying more towards health. Imagery is SO important to this generation – their selfies are all over the internet, and they want to look good. The current generation and my generation are either not taking up smoking in the first place or are making efforts to give it up. And they’re making the effort to be strong and healthy – I’ve talked about my fitness journey a few times before, and I’ll be talking about it again soon as things have changed recently.
Smoking is a topic that a lot of people have very strong opinions about, whether they’re trying to defend their rights to be allowed to smoke or think it’s a bad habit, whether it should be allowed in public places or not, whether it’s as bad as they as it is or isn’t quite so harmful.
I’ve been exposed to all different sides of this through my life. No one in my immediate family has smoked during my lifetime but my school was rife with smokers. Being a boarding school in the middle of nowhere, it was completely isolated from pretty much everything – the nearest “civilisation” was the village shop about a mile’s walk away then it was 12 miles to the nearest small town and about an hour to the nearest city, York. Basically, there wasn’t much to do in your free time (hence why it was so limited!). I was a day girl, but in the minority as one of these. I’d say about 95% of the school were smokers – it was a rite of passage, especially for boarders, to head out into the Valley and participate in smoking and drinking as there wasn’t much else to do.
Then when I first started at Bronco, I was jokingly told that I would have to take up smoking as the vast majority of the office did so – I’d be the odd one out for not smoking! Luckily, I didn’t take up the habit.
Over the past few years, there’s been a massive increase in the amount of people vaping rather than smoking. You’ve probably noticed it yourself – I know I definitely have! The number of my colleagues heading out for cigarette breaks first dwindled then dropped massively, and in their place came the slightly sweet smell of e cigarettes as many of them took up vaping instead in an effort to give up on the cigarettes entirely.
And apparently it’s not just me that’s noticed the drop in smoking and the rise in vaping – I read this article on Vapemate on a London study that’s showed vaping doubled from 2012 to 2014 (click here to read it and others – this article, as well as others on the site, is really interesting, showing the scientific studies behind vaping, looking from all kinds of perspectives including health, safety, how it works and so on), and that current smokers are most likely to take up vaping as an effective method to quit smoking. Apparently it’s still perceived as harmful but they’re calling for more research to be done on the topic as it’s still a very new thing and people haven’t learnt what it’s all about yet – educating people on vaping is a massive part of the topic that’s done really well on the Vapemate blog.
Now I can’t tell you what my school is like for smoking any more – I know they had a tough new headmaster so maybe he started cracking down on it, not that they didn’t try when I was there! But I’ve started to notice a change among young people though. Recently there’s been an upsurge in being fit, strong and healthy rather than skinny and waif like. The generation of millennials has latched onto this and I think it’s amazing. Technically I count as a millennial, growing up with technology and being born right bang in the middle of early 80s to early 2000s, but I’m thinking more of the ones who are teenagers now, and I guess “Generation Z” – those born post-2000 and growing up in a world where social media has existed all their lives.
So what do you think? Have you noticed the increase in the current generation wanting to be more healthy, not taking up smoking, giving it up etc?