I just recently turned 18 actually
I started smoking at 16 and my mom found out that I smoked about a year after I started. She "gave up" on me like she does about everything. I love menthol cigarettes and I told her that. She was of course concerned healthwise but said in her stubborn attitude, "I don't care, go and kill yourself." about 6 months ago, she guilted me into not smoking cigs until I was 18. Yes, I've had the occasional since then (about 1 every 2 months) but if it was up to me (and if cigarette prices in the chicagoland area weren't 6-8 bucks a pack) I'd smoke a pack per day.
I can't stand regular cigarettes except for camel turkish royals. I appreciate the nice taste of the tobacco. It's mild and has a true tobacco flavor.
I don't really feel one way or the other about smoking. I knew people who started at 14. I think it's kinda young but I think 16 would be a better age to make it legal.
I know in France that it's legal at 16 and fewer teens smoke there. It's similar to turning 21 and alcohol, (or so I've heard) that you don't get as big of a kick out of it when it's legal. Yes I've gotten drunk a couple times but honestly, I think now, more than ever, teens are in the smoking generation.
Pretty much everyone I talk to around my age has tried, occasionally has, or consistently smokes. Some only with a drink, others at parties, and some just because they're addicted.
I think it's a philisophical question that pertains to age; I view age as just a number, it's maturity level that counts. I've been told I'm very mature, and it makes sense because I hate it when people do stupid things just to be stupid (like "Jackass the movie"). But I find smoking to be a release and it's something that puts me in a pensive state of mind. It is enjoyable for me and something I couldn't care less about healthwise (not because I have a young invincible complex, more like I have a certain predestination formed philosophy, but that's for another thread.)
The one thing I wish could really be done about this is for people to stop heckling smokers, we enjoy it, leave it be.