Smoking is a habit that has been on a rise especially amongst teenagers and young adults. One of the factors that have contributed to a rise in the number of smokers in this age bracket is the popularization that has been created by media advertisements (Ali, 2007; Bonnie, 2007).
We will write a custom Report on Dealing with the increase in the number of smokers between ages 17 and 45 specifically for you
301 certified writers online
In the time starting 1980, the number of cigarette advertisements on both broadcast and print media has gone up, with most presenting smoking as cool. Most cigarette and sheesha advertisements depict the smokers as highly successful individuals, with the men in the advertisements being associated with beautiful women and the women who smoke being regarded as classy. This coolness aspect has particularly led to an increase in the number of teen smokers, most of whom would like to be associated with poplar groups.
Another reason as to why smoking has been on a rising trend is the easy access of cigarettes and tobacco. In some retail outlets, individuals can purchase single sticks of cigarettes, making the product affordable even to individuals who do not work (Bearman, Neckerman and Wright, 2011). Weak by-laws which allow individuals to smoke virtually anywhere also encourage those who have started smoking to keep up the trend.
Smoking affects both the physical and social health of the individual. According to studies by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 443,000 deaths happening in the United States every year are caused by or are linked to smoking (Brannon, 2009). These are more than the combined deaths caused by Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), drug abuse, alcoholism, road accidents, suicides, and murders (Bosanquet, 2006).
The same source indicates that people who smoke are more predisposed to contracting a number of diseases including coronary heart diseases, stroke, lung cancer and most forms of obstructive lung diseases (Scutchfield and Keck, 2003). As far as the social aspect is concerned, smoking creates a rift between the individual and other members of society who don’t smoke.
For instance, in a home set-up, when a teenager starts smoking, he might have to keep distance from his parents, in order to avoid detection. In order to reduce the prevalence of smoking, there are a number of key measures that can be taken. First is the propagation of messages advocating for social change. Smoking is usually regarded a personal lifestyle choice and for its popularity to decrease society needs to regard is a function of negative character (Bearman, Neckerman and Wright, 2011).
Using television and radio spots, messages of the negative effects on the health of an individual can be conveyed to the general public. People need to be made aware that the portrayal of smoking in commercials as desirable is fundamentally a marketing gimmick that should not be taken at face value. Accessing cigarettes, the popular item that is smoked, should be made difficult, through increasing of prices and making purchase stringent.
Governments can help curb the behavior by increasing the taxes imposed on cigarettes and associated products, as well as increasing the minimum age allowed to cigarette buyers. In most countries, the minimum permitted smoking age is 18 and increasing it to 21 might help reduce the number of young smokers. Finally, by installing special smoking zones in public places, governments can help reduce the popularity of smoking by making it inconvenient for individuals who would wish to smoke constantly.
Ali, M. (2007). The Effectiveness of Prices as a Smoking Reduction Mechanism: An Analysis of Adolescent Smoking Behavior. Michigan: Proquest
Bearman,S., Neckerman, K. & Wright, L. (2011). After Tobacco: What Would Happen If Americans Stopped Smoking? Columbia: Columbia University Press
Bonnie, R. (2007). Ending the Tobacco Problem: A Blueprint for the Nation. Washington: National Academies Press
Bosanquet, N. (2006). The Economics of Cancer. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
Brannon, L. (2009). Health Psychology: An Introduction to Behavior and Health. Connecticut: Cengage Learning
Scutchfield, D. & Keck, W. (2003). Principles of public health practice. Connecticut: Cengage Learning