Tobacco smoking is a behavior that takes the front line when it comes to addressing the various reasons behind the death of many people, and youth in particular, in the US. The paper uses the Baltimore community in Maryland as the area to focus the event of creating awareness of cigarette smoking among the teens of this community. The decision of choosing this area has been informed by the evident high rate of cigarette smoking among the people of the community, which, once ignored, will interfere with their health thus affecting the community’s future endeavors.
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Effects of Smoking
It is crucial to address the effects of smoking in this event for the smokers of the Baltimore community to know what they are exposed to whenever they engage in smoking. Firstly, smoking deprives people of their lives. Many people have died of smoking. In fact, statistics indicate that one in every two smokers die because of the act. Secondly, smoking has been found to bring hypertension and stroke. The effect results from the heavy task to which the heart is subjected. This effect arises from the nicotine and carbon monoxide contents that the smoker inhales, as they slow the rate of flow of blood in the veins. Thirdly, smoking causes cancer following the tar contents that cover the surface of the lungs making it difficult for the body to get enough oxygenated blood. Fourthly, a disease called emphysema is a result of smoking that leads to lung decay and eventually the death of the victim. Lastly, though the effects are uncountable, smoking while pregnant deprives the growing fetus of its weight and hence health besides other complications after birth.
Significance of the Event
Holding a cigarette smoking campaign in this area is of great significance. The use of tobacco among African-American teenagers in the Baltimore community in Maryland is a concern to many people. Different initiatives, which are aimed at creating awareness, will play a major role in reducing this issue among the teens in this focus area. According to Syu, Ming-Yii, and Jon-Jong (2011), approximately 23.9 percent of African-American teenagers aged between 18- 24 years in Baltimore engage in smoking (p. 72). They smoke mild and black Cigarillo at least once. These findings demonstrate the urgency that is required to ensure that teenagers change their behaviors and attitude towards smoking. There are various reasons that make these youths smoke cigarettes. One of the factors is peer influence. Youths here are introduced to smoke by friends with whom they meet especially at school. Other reasons include low income and low educational status among the teens and the stress that comes with discrimination by their white counterparts. In addition, locations that they come from especially the crime-prone areas contribute to their smoking. Aggressive marketing of tobacco products and exposure of high media campaigns that target those coming from low-income backgrounds, as well as easy accessibility of cigarettes in the neighborhood stores and friends and inadequate or limited accessibility to information that warns them about health implications of using tobacco contribute to teens’ smoking. Other teens begin to smoke tobacco after emulating their parents and friends. All these are evident in the Baltimore community. Therefore, cigarette smoking among Baltimore community teenagers should be addressed using the right strategies and tactics to ensure that they grow up to adulthood without smoking cigarettes (Syu, Ming-Yii & Jon-Jong, 2011, p. 72).
Possible Activities/Topics to promote health in Baltimore Community
Application of theory of reasoned action (TRA) is one of the concepts used to create awareness among youths to make them desist from smoking cigarettes. This theory is used to predict smoking behaviors among teens (Syu, Ming-Yii & Jon-Jong, 2011, p. 73). The major ideas of this theory are to establish positive relationships with the teens by coming closer to them and seeking to know the major reasons why they make a decision to join or start smoking. This concept is very important in coming up with the best strategy to create awareness. It gives one a good opportunity or a hint to know where to begin and or the areas that need to be addressed. It further enables one to have a clear understanding of the kind of youths or teens who are highly engaging in cigarette smoking.
Technology has also revolutionized the way people communicate and share ideas. Many youths are very enthusiastic about the Internet, especially social media. They often visit their websites to share ideas and views besides making friends through social media through the Internet. Various organizations fighting against smoking among teenagers use websites and social media to reach, inform, and guide teens on various aspects relating to the smoking of cigarettes. This avenue, once implemented in this focal community, will have a crucial role in informing the youths and teens besides triggering a change of behavior. For instance, these teens will share and discuss various issues concerning cigarette smoking and drug abuse (Herd, 2011, p. 7). This platform will make them express their feelings and emotions.
My Input as a Community Health Nurse
As the Baltimore community health nurse, I will extend cigarette smoking awareness through learning institutions such as high schools and colleges in the area. I will embark on establishing classes designed to teach and educate teenagers on smoking cessation. These classes will teach them about the health implications of smoking cigarettes in a bid to trigger a change of behavior. During such classes, students will be taught various issues that may contribute to their involvement in cigarette smoking and therefore be advised on the various ways of avoiding falling culprits (Oredein & Foulds, 2012, p. 4). Such sensitization is expected to contribute a lot in reducing the rate of smoking among African Black teenagers. Most of the colleges and schools have passed rules that forbid any tobacco smoking at the compounds of schools. This move/ban can also help reduce the prevalence of smoking among the people of Baltimore (Currie, 2012, p. 18). One of the causes of the increased smoking among teenagers or adolescents is the exposure of the teens to smoking through movies with parental guidance-13 rating. In a study that was conducted involving 6522 adolescents, the rate of being exposed to smoking through movies was three times more compared to those movies rated at R (Currie, 2012, p. 21). This, therefore, shows the risk to which teenagers are exposed. I will campaign for the regulation and authentication of these movies before they are aired to people because they have a negative impact on teens, more so in the Baltimore community. Teenagers are very energetic and optimistic about life. They can be tempted to experience what they feel upon smoking. Watching such movies therefore should be regulated to avoid influencing them negatively. I will therefore introduce a counseling and advice session on the effects of smoking. In Baltimore, real smokers who have been impacted negatively because of smoking (Maryland Resource Center 2012, para. 2) sensitize the African black Americans through talks. These people talk to the youths. They advise them on how to avoid smoking because of the associated health risks. Such discussions will play a positive role in triggering behavior change among many African black youths in this community. Baltimore community values teamwork. Therefore, the use of community initiatives can be of great help in creating awareness about the effects of smoking on the victims. The campaign will involve the participation of all the members of the society. For instance, church leaders especially the Africans will have the opportunity to transform the behavior of youths. Because many of them are blacks, they will use the opportunity to trigger a positive change amongst their African black teenagers to avoid smoking (Maryland Resource Center, 2012, Para. 2). These African black American teenagers come from different backgrounds in terms of religious affiliation, educational backgrounds, and place of origin among other differences. Therefore, finding appropriate strategies to create awareness to trigger behavior changes will be one of the important things that I will consider.
Based on the revelations made in the paper, it is clear that there is a need to create cigarette smoking awareness in Baltimore in a bid to save the many teenagers whose future life seems threatened by the effects of smoking. The number of teens who had been pressured into smoking cigarettes will reduce drastically. Inclusion of programs of cigarette cessation and ban of cigarette smoking within schools will play a crucial role in changing their behaviors. They will be educated and informed on the effects of smoking. Baltimore, Maryland, therefore will record a decreased number of African Black teenagers involved in smoking after the campaign. It is expected to be a place where any person would wish to live in the future.
Currie, D. (2012). National Public Health Week celebrated nationwide. Nation’s Health, 42(5), 18-31.
Herd, D. (2011). Voices from the field: The social construction of alcohol problems in inner-city communities. Contemporary Drug Problems, 38(7), 7-39.
Maryland Resource Center. (2012). Quitting use and initiation of tobacco. Web.
Oredein, T., & Foulds, J. (2012). Causes of the Decline in Cigarette Smoking Among African American Youths from the 1970s to the 1990s. American Journal of Public Health, 101(10), 4-14.
Syu, F., Ming-Yii H., & Jon-Jong, H. (2011). Original Article: A successsiful Intervention To Reduce Cigarillo Use among Batimore Youth. In Fooyin Journal of Health Sciences, 2(3), 72-84.