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The study examines the influence of peer group pressure on adolescent smoking habits in some selected secondary schools in Ifako Ijaiye, Local Government area of Lagos State. Influence of peer group pressure on adolescent smoking habits has more than ever before being posing serious threat to adolescent health. As such, government, parents and the society have seen the need to find a lasting solution to curbing the menace of smoking among adolescents.

The study has the following major objectives; to examine the effects of peer group pressure on adolescent smoking habits; to analyze the negative effects of smoking on adolescent’s health; and to examine the counter-measures and their potency to smoking among adolescents.

The study utilizes data from both primary and secondary sources. For the primary data, a questionnaire field survey was employed. The source of the secondary data includes textbooks, periodicals and internet materials.

The study brings out some salient findings. One, smoking is a behavior that is not only fostered by environments in which peers and family members smoke but also by large scale media campaigns advertising tobacco products. Two, peer pressure is not always negative. In fact, there is more of positive peer influence than negative. Three, adolescent that smoke do so for fear of been rejected by his peer group. The study revealed that parents, society and the government amongst others are doing all possible to stop adolescents from smoking. By so doing, it is felt that they will be more useful to themselves and the society.


1.0    Introduction

This research work aims at critically examine influence of peer pressure on adolescents smoking habits in some selected schools in Lagos state, Nigeria.

In young people, youth peer pressure is one of the most frequently referred to forms of peer pressure. It is particularly common because most youth spend large amounts of time in fixed groups (schools and subgroups within them) regardless of their opinion of those groups. In addition to this, they may lack the maturity to handle pressure from ‘friends’.

Also, young people are more willing to behave negatively towards those who are not members of their own groups. However, youth peer pressure can also have positive effects.

For example, if one is involved with a group of people that are ambitious and working to succeed, one might feel pressured to follow suit to avoid feeling excluded from the group.

Teenagers feel like they need to be in the same group to be ‘cool’ or “in”. Therefore, the youth would be pressured into improving themselves, thus, having a better future. This is most commonly seen in youths that are active in sports or other extracurricular activities where conformity with one’s peer group is strongest.

1.1           Background to the study:

Peer groups are a normal, necessary and healthy part of adolescent development. As teenagers are struggling to develop a personal identity and become less dependent on parents, peer groups provide the security of a ‘’safety net’’. Peer groups provide an opportunity for teenagers to interact with equals.

Their friends give teen’s companionship, emotional support, and a sense of belonging. Peer information, and practice social skills. Teens learn that they aren’t alone in feeling scared and insecure, and that others have problems too.

Peer relationships can be a powerful positive influence on the lives of adolescents. Natural observations of adolescents indicate that most adolescents discuss options with their friends before reaching a consensus about what to do.

Rarely is one adolescent pressured to conform to the rest of the group. Moreover, secondary school students in several large samples reported that their friends discouraged drug and alcohol use, delinquent activities, and other types of antisocial behaviour more than they encourage them; they also claimed their friends encouraged studying for school subjects more than they discouraged it.

Some adolescents even display anticonformity, rejecting their peer’s judgements, and making different decisions altogether. Friendships inherently limit the use and effectiveness of coercive pressure because they are relationships based on equality and mutual respect; consequentially, decisions are made by negotiation, not domination.

Adolescents choose friends who have characteristics or talents that they admire, which motivate them to achieve and act as their friends acts. Friends encourage adolescents to study hard at school and can also help them think more creatively.

High-achieving peers have positive effects on adolescents’ satisfaction with school, educational expectations, report card grades, and standardised achievement test scores.

Students with friends who like school, get good grades, and are interested in school. Also they are more likely to finish secondary school. Hence, having friends who believe that academic achievement is important is beneficial for adolescents.

Peer influences can also be very negative. Unhealthy, destructive peer groups can cause much pain and suffering for both parents and teenagers. Teens whose friends are involved in risky behaviours, illegal activities or experimenting with drugs, may easily be persuaded to join in.

Parents may dislike their teenagers’ friends, and possibly for good reasons, but it is impossible to force teens to choose healthy friends. Most often, when teens are forced to choose between their parents or their peer group, they choose their friends.

The successful formation and navigation of interpersonal relationships   with peers is a process central to adolescent development in all cultures.

In European – American cultural context and ever including amount of each day is spent under of peer pressure, from 10 percent as early as two years of age to forty percent between the ages of seven and eleven.

By secondary school, teens are spending more than half of their time in the company of their peers (Updegraff, Mchale, Crouter and Kupanof, 2001).

Because adolescents spend a large amount of their time with peers, it is not surprising that they play a highly influential role in adolescents’ lives. The credibility, authority, power, and influence of peers are greater during adolescence than at any other time in life (Cooper, 1994).

Although the process of socialization and individuation occurs in all cultures, the developmental time frame, goals, and practices are often unique.

In the United States, the adolescents’ developmental path is characterized by a transfer in closeness from parents to peers. In comparison with the emphasis placed by European – American cultures on individualism, other cultures, Asian and African cultures in particular, accentuate the socialization of ‘’interdependence, self-control, social inhibition, and compliance’’. For example, the peer like mutuality with which adolescents negotiate with their parents during their high school years is a uniquely European – American construct (Chen, Greenberger, Lester, Dong, and Guo, 1998).

Adolescence is a time when peers play an increasingly important role in the lives of youth. Teens begin to develop friendships that are more intimate, exclusive, and more constant than in earlier years. In many ways, these friendships are an essential component of development.

They provide safe venues where youths can explore their identities where they can feel accepted and where they can develop a sense of belongingness. Friendship also allow youth to practice and foster social skills necessary for future success.

Nonetheless, parents and other adults can become concerned when they see their teens becoming preoccupied with their friends.

Many parents worry that their teens will fall under peer influence or reject their families’ values and beliefs as well as are pressured to engage in high-risks and other negative behaviours.

In reality, peer influence is very complex. First, peer influence can be both positive and negative. While we tend to think that peer influence leads teens to engage in unhealthy and unsafe behaviours, it can actually motivate youth to study harder in school, volunteer for community and social services, and participate in sports and other productive endeavours.

In fact, most teens report that their peers pressure them not to engage in drug use and sexual activity.

Second, peer influence is not a simple process where youth are passive recipients of influence from others. In fact, peers who become friends tend to already have a lot of things in common. Peers with similar interests, similar academic standing, and enjoy doing the same things tend to gravitate towards each other.

So while it seems that teens and their friends become very similar to each other through peer influence, much of that similarity was present to begin with.

1.2           Statement of the problem:

The influence of peer group pressure on adolescents smoking habit is gaining momentum and skyrocketing as each day passes by and there is urgent need to curtail this issue before it gets out of hands and make the future leaders of tomorrow’s dreams, vision and potentials short lived (Akinsanya, 2010).

There is a lot of issue about the negative influence of “peer pressure” on teenagers these days. People also often forget that peer pressure can apply to all age groups, and that peer influence can also be positive.

The old saying ‘birds of the same feather or of a feather lock together is true because if you are not like your peers, then your peers will be like you and also the peers you hang up with eventually will make you think and act like them or vice versa.

Negative peer pressure can make teens do many different things. They can be pressured into shoplifting ,robbery, drinking, smoking and doing drugs ,such as cocaine, marijuana, e.t.c, illicit sex that can lead to unwanted pregnancy, abortion, HIV/AIDS e.t.c, that can mar their dreams, vision , talents and potentials. These adolescents are the future leaders of tomorrow.

This research work has come to lime light due to the above mentioned problems with aim of examining the impact of peer pressure on adolescents smoking habits and proffering necessary solutions to remedy the situation.

1.3           Significance of the study:

There cannot be a better time to work on this research topic “the critical impact of peer group pressure on adolescents smoking habits” than now especially when the smoking rate among adolescents and other undesirable behavioural attitude is skyrocketing among our youths these days.

This study would be of great importance to adolescents and youths, students, parents, teachers, Counsellors, Government and the entire nation at large.

The information contained herein would help all stake holders, especially parents and counsellors to help monitor and help their children and wards from being a victim of peer pressure on adolescents smoking habits.

The study would also be of great benefits to teachers and individuals that are role models and mentors to adolescents and youths.

Finally, the study would enlighten the teachers on how to handle peer group pressure among adolescents and also the smoking habit among these adolescents and other adolescents’ behaviour caused by peer group pressure.

1.4           Purpose of the study

Generally, the research intend to carry a survey on the influence of peer group pressure on adolescent smoking habit in some selected secondary schools in Ifako Ijaiye Local Government area in Lagos State. In specific terms, the purpose of this study is to:

1.   Examine whether there will be any influence of peer group   pressure on adolescent smoking habit.

2.   Examine whether there will be any societal influence on adolescent smoking habit.

3.   Examine whether there will be any influence of government on adolescent smoking habit.

4.   Examine whether there will be any influence of school in adolescent smoking habit.

1.5           Objectives of the study

The objectives of the study are:

1.   To examine the effects of peer group pressure on adolescent smoking habits.

2.   To analyze the negative effects of smoking on adolescent’s           health.

3.   To examine the counter-measures and their potency to  smoking among adolescents.

1.6           Research questions:

For the purpose of this research work, emphasis would be laid on the research topic: the influence of peer group pressure on adolescents smoking habits.

Also, answers with in-depth explanations would be provided to the following research questions below:

1.           Will there be any influence of peer group pressure on adolescents’ smoking habit?

2.           Will there be any societal influence on adolescents’ smoking  habit?

3.           Will there be any influence of government on adolescents’ smoking habit?

4.           Will there be any influence of school on adolescents’ smoking habit?

1.7           Research hypotheses:

To ensure a more detailed and result oriented research, hypotheses are formulated and tested on the research objectives.

The decision criteria is to accept the null hypothesis (Ho) and reject the alternative hypothesis (H1) or otherwise based on the result of the test carried out.

The hypotheses are stated below:

1.           There is no significant influence of peer group pressure on  adolescents’ smoking habits.

2.           There is no significant societal influence on adolescents’ smoking habits.

3.           There is no significant influence of government on adolescents smoking habits.

4.           There is no significant school influence on adolescents’ smoking habits.

1.8        Definiton of major terms:

Peer group:

A peer group is a social group of humans. Peer groups are an informal primary group of people who share a similar or equal status and who are usually of roughly the same age and interact within the social aggregate.

Peer pressure:

Peer pressure refers to the influence exerted by a peer group in encouraging a person to change his or her attitudes, values, or behavior in order to conform to group norms.

It can equally be described as instances where an individual feels indirectly pressured into changing their behavior to match that of their peers. Taking up smoking is one of the best known examples.


Adolescent will be seen as a young person developing from a child into an adult i.e. persons between the ages of 13 and 18.


Smoking is defined as the practice where cigarettes or tobacco is burned and the vapors either tasted or inhaled.


Habit is defined as a thing that one does often and almost without thinking, especially something that is hard to stop doing.

1.9           Limitations:

The population of this study will be all secondary schools in Lagos State and samples were limited to members of Senior Secondary School (SS2). The result obtained from this study would not be generalised to all schools in Nigeria.



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