Smoking and Teens - Facts, Figures, Effects and Solutions
Teens and smoking is a growing problem not only in the Untied States but the rest of the world. In the US an estimated over 3000 teens start to smoke each and every day.
Teens and smoking has also its roots in the education system were due to peer pressure a lot of teens take up this new profession with pride. Surveys have shown 40% of teens surveyed having once smoked in their lives with a heavy inclination towards male teens.The figures might soon be balancing out even for females.
"No one should welcome the tobacco industry's youth anti-smoking campaigns, a cynical attempt to make smoking seem more grown-up and even more appealing to youth." - Tobacco Free Kids Action on Smoking and Health, UK, 2001
Teen smoking has actually been fueled by big tobacco campaigns that on the surface seem to discourage youth from smoking. These campaigns on the flip side actually gives an assurance to teens that once they are adults they can smoke - it's ok.
Yet a major motivation for teen smoking is the aspiration to adulthood. Therefore the strategic positioning of cigarettes as "adult" and "forbidden" is a marketing pitch to spur youths into aspiration and mutiny.
Teens and smoking is also a growing problem because young people continue to get free and easy access to cigarettes and tobacco in general. Some of the teens also live with parents or spouses who smoke making it easy for them to start smoking. Media tobacco advertisements have also played a direct role in teenage smoking including movie appearances of actors whom teens hold in high esteem.
The generality of teens appear not to possess a full or complete appreciation of the dangers of smoking. Many do however have a vague understanding (even though not as sobering as it should be) that the ultimate result of tobacco use is lung cancer and death. Nevertheless the nuts and bolts of the effects of smoking tobacco are still largely missing in the minds and thoughts of many teens. This level of ignorance continues to drive teens and smoking statistics through the roof.
If you are a teen and smoke you need to take it upon yourself without further delay to fully understand the effects of smoking to your health now and in the future. Most older people who smoke and are the aunts and uncles started smoking in their teens. They have since failed to come off it even though they so desperately want to.
For those working with teens and quit smoking programs, associations with tobacco companies should be largely avoided when working on teen anti-smoking initiatives. Tobacco companies have an industry future to protect. Their thrust is largely to paint a picture of smoking as an adult choice. The truth is that it is a terrible and dreadful adult choice which many smoking adults regret. 70% of them to be precise. In a sense those who are campaigning for tobacco to be classified under hard drugs have a footing.
Parents and community authorities directly in charge of teens must take precious time to give young people an all-round understanding and appreciation of the dangers of smoking.
Instead of perhaps instilling fear which is only as effective as they remain afraid emphasis should rather be on the bigger picture of life. How smoking would jeopardize their future careers, dreams and aspirations. More importantly how fast it will get out of fashion and become a monkey on their back in an increasingly green and health conscious world.
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