Look up and speak up against scrolling, the new smoking

By Angelina Miller
May 12, 2018


“Scrolling is the new smoking.”

This is a phrase that was said by Joshua Fields Millburn on the 27th of March this year.

This is a phrase, an idea, and a concept, that many of us should be taking into consideration.

Allow me to tell you why.


According to today’s online Medical Dictionary…

“Smoking is the inhalation of the smoke of burning tobacco encased in cigarettes, pipes, and cigars.”

Casual smoking is the act of smoking only occasionally, usually in a social situation or to relieve stress.

smoking “habit” is a physical addiction to tobacco products.

Tobacco use spread across Europe and England in the 1600’s. In the 1700’s, smoking became more universal.

In the 1800’s, cigarette making machine’s were developed.

During the early 20th century, the popularity of cigarette smoking grew from new forms of tobacco promotion.

However, as time went on, smoking became less popular, due to an increased awareness of harmful health effects that could come from it.

The first medical reports linking smoking to lung cancer appeared in the 1920’s.

In the 1960s, tobacco was confirmed to have a direct link to a range of other serious diseases.

Smoking harms many organs in the human body.

The brain develops an addiction to nicotine, that can result in feelings of anxiety and and irritability when going through withdrawal.

The ears can develop hearing loss from having a reduced supply of oxygen to organs in the inner ear.

The eyes can become blind.

The skin can become dry, dull and colorless.

While smoking still remains today, despite those factors and more…

Is it possible that scrolling has become the new smoking?


According to today’s most prominent search engine known as Google,

“Scrolling is the action of moving displayed text or graphics up, down, or across on a screen, in order to view different parts of them.”

Now, let’s simply replace the world “smoking” with the term “scrolling” in the Cancer Council‘s terminology, and see if it makes sense.

Casual scrolling is the act of scrolling only occasionally, usually in a social situation, or to relieve stress.

(Where stress is, an organism’s total response to environmental demands or pressures.)

A scrollinghabit” is a physical addiction to scrolling products.

(Where addiction is, a persistent, compulsive dependence on a behavior or substance, and a scrolling product is an electronic device.)

Is Mr. Millburn right? Does this all actually make sense?

Scrolling is an addicting act that has spread across the world since the creation of the first smartphone in the 2000s.

With the creation of apps such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat following shortly after that,
scrolling has easily now become a norm in today’s society.

The increased and non-stop creation of new scrolling machine’s, otherwise known as iPhones, iPad’s, and Android’s, is only fueling this action.

The popularity of scrolling is continuously growing, from new forms of social media platforms and usage.

However, as time goes on, will scrolling ever become less popular?

Will there ever be an increased awareness of harmful health effects that could come from scrolling?

As an individual who is fortune enough to be sitting in front of a computer, laptop, phone, or tablet screen to be reading this article… you are faced with two different choices. You could continue to go along with the majority of our society, and continue to be cause of the addictive, 21st century stigma of scrolling. Or… you could take the road less traveled by, and be the solution that influences others to




…instead of being another person scrolling hours of their life away.

Next time you are walking around in a town, a city, a work place, a restaurant, a mall, a college campus, or any other public venue, take note.

How many people have their chins up, eyes open, hearts lifted, are actually breathing in air and looking around at the world around them?

How many people have their necks and upper backs hunched over, mouth closed, breathing mindlessly, eyes glued to a screen, and are unwilling to say hello to you as you pass by?

Or, how many people make eye contact with you and are more willing to look down at their phone screen, rather than to say hello and shoot you a smile?

I have been on earth for 21 years, and I am honestly scared to see what happens to our society if I am lucky enough to live 21 more.

While I have never experienced a world where smoking was a societally accepted fad and norm, I am experiencing a world where the mind numbing habit of scrolling is, instead. And at this point in time, I am not sure which is worse.

At least smoking was a somewhat social activity. Scrolling is leading individuals to become increasingly anti-social, closed off and cold.

Scrolling is often done in a very improper posture, which could lead to lower back pain in children, teens and adults.

Scrolling is often done in a frozen position, which could lead to a sedentary lifestyle or even obesity when done in excessiveness.

Scrolling is often correlated to mindless content, and takes the place of intellectual and developmental activities such as reading books.

Scrolling is often done in the evening before going to sleep, which is medically proven to affect sleep quality and alertness the following day.

And, as I just said, scrolling is often done in an anti-social way, leading individuals with scrolling devices to develop poor communication skills from being more in tune to their device that the individuals and world that is actually surrounding them.

So, what will YOU choose to do?

Maybe you were never a smoker. But are you a scroller?

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Angelina Miller

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