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Public Health and Smoking Prevention Essay

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Updated: May 24th, 2021

Introduction

Historically, public health efforts have been to control transmittable diseases, limit environmental hazards, and provide clean and healthy drinking water. Social, ecological, and biological factors are interconnected and hence interrelate to influence health. As such, public health needs to incorporate a broad set of spectrum. Public health practice involves organized plans to improve the health of communities. According to C.E.A. Winslow, public health is the science and art of disease prevention, lengthening life, improving physical health and efficiency through structured community determinations for environmental sanitization, managing community infections, and promoting knowledge among individuals on aspects of personal hygiene (Teutsch, 2018). The concept also consists of planning medical and nursing services for timely disease treatment and prevention and improving social infrastructure, which will enhance an individual’s living standards.

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines public health from health described as a state of total physical, mental and social welfare. Hence, public health intends to realize impartial health delivery for the whole population (Martin-Moreno et al., 2016). Therefore, public health definitions revolve around people’s health and involve improving the entire community’s health, focusing on protection, disease prevention, and wellbeing. Public health strives to screen disease occurrences, which may be acute or chronic, prevent injuries, and develop knowledge of risk factors within communities.

Public Health Promotion

An individual’s behavior is a significant determinant of health. Personal habits such as smoking, alcohol use, exercise, and eating determine the wellbeing of an individual. Health promotion is essential for the entire community. According to the WHO, health promotion refers to the process of facilitating people to enhance their power over their health while also improving their health (Drewa and Zorena, 2017). The process has increasingly become a prominent item in public policy of most countries in recent years. The concept of health promotion stresses the community-based services of health promotion, community involvement, and health promotion programs centered on social and health systems.

The purpose of health promotion is to positively influence people and communities’ health conduct along with the living and working environments. Nurses are significant players in this aspect by enhancing people’s living standards (Zhou et al., 2016). The assessment includes community demands, education, resource identification, and plans to limit premature mortalities and reduce expenses.

Role of Nurses in Public Health and Public Health Promotion

Nurses have a significant role in stimulating public health. The part of nurses as health promoters is more than the new focus on disease prevention and transforming people’s behavior according to their health conditions. Individual perspective nurses have a holistic approach and use their activities such as helping individuals and families make health decisions (Darch, Baillie and Gillison 2017). Nurses also help the public by supporting their participation in health promotion programs (Salmond and Echevarria, 2017). Nurses have several strategies that facilitate health promotion. The approaches involve giving information to patients and offering health education.

Nurses can also participate in health promotion practices through empowerment. Nurses collaborate to enhance health empowerment through a partnership with individuals, groups, or communities through nurse-patient communication and patient community engagement. Nurses also have a duty of promoting health based on community orientation (Kim et al., 2016). Nurses use their knowledge to implement surveillance strategies and incorporate other professionals and groups while also interacting with various cultures to promote health.

Nurses in various facilities have a significant responsibility to offer preventive services and wellbeing. Nurses are the foundation and advocates of the healthcare process since they work across the health care system. Nurses can also function as case supervisors by helping individual patients and families to traverse the health care process (Darch, Baillie and Gillison, 2017). Nurses can also offhandedly work with their clients to facilitate holistic care that is essential for effective results. These professionals also work as consultants on communities to determine the healthcare needs of a particular group and promote programs and events for a specific area’s residents.

On the other hand, nurses play educators’ roles since they spend most of their time with patients. During that period, the protective direction about various practices is immunizations, nutrition, dietary, and medications (Whitehead, 2018). Strategies such as preventive efforts against heart diseases and other illnesses involve educating procedures and monitoring safety risks in different settings.

Prevalence of Smoking among Adults of Over 18 Years

The practice of smoking that started numerous centuries has increased despite its health effects and efforts to limit the act. Smoking includes drawing into the mouth and primarily lungs, smoke from burning tobacco which can be in various forms such as cigarettes, cigarillos, cigars, and water pipes (West and Shiffman, 2016). Estimations indicate that tobacco smoking leads to the premature death of about 6 million people globally every year, while a country such as the UK loses 96000 people over a similar time frame (Burki, 2016). These deaths can occur even after an individual abandons the behavior due to the devastating consequences on the victim’s health and overall wellbeing.

Smoking among adults over 18 years old is a public health issue that requires intervention due to statistical evidence of its effects over the past decades. A significant number of deaths in the United States is due to cigarette use and other burnt tobacco products. Cigarettes represent the most widely utilized tobacco product among the US population. Over 480000 deaths in the US result from cigarette smoking and secondary smoking activities (Jamal et al., 2018, p. 53). The prevalence of smoking among the adult US population has been increasing since 2016. Despite the decrease from 20.9% in 2005 to 15.1% in 2015, adults’ behavior has increased since 2016 (Jamal et al., 2018). The high prevalence rates of smoking among adults imply the need to address the behavior.

Smoking has several effects on the health of an individual. The health conditions that can result from the addiction include oral cancer, lung cancer, and heart disease. Smoking, which can consist of cigarette smoking and cigar smoking, can be fatal to human health (Roston, Corey and Gindi, 2019). E-cigarette exposure results in broad stress and inflammatory reactions in the pulmonary system, such as breathing limitations, coughing, and sneezing. The behavior also causes bronchial irritations, pulmonary irritations, and pulmonary malfunction (Glantz and Bareham, 2018). Despite the lower amounts of toxic and carcinogenic metabolites than conventional smoking, the effects are also harmful to an individual’s wellbeing. Some chemicals in e-cigarettes such as formaldehyde and acrolein and traces of nickel and lead can cause DNA malformation and mutation with possible carcinogenic impacts. The effects of conventional smoking and e-smoking imply the need to address the problem as a health risk.

Smoking in women has also been on the rise in the recent past. Smoking in women and men reduces their fertility due to alteration of hormonal composition (de Angelis et al., 2020). Pregnant women who smoke are likely to cause underdevelopment of the fetus, which would eventually increase the dangers of miscarriage, neonatal deaths, and respiratory defects in the newborns (Gustavson et al., 2017). The infants can also develop mental health problems. These effects also necessitate the need to establish cessation campaigns.

Knowledge and Perception towards Smoking

The knowledge and awareness about a particular lifestyle and behavior determine the attitude on effects and the intention to quit. The majority of smokers in different regions have moderate levels of understanding about smoking’s health risk impacts. The majority of smokers understand the health implications of lung cancer and decay in the individuals’ lungs. However, there is still low awareness among the population about other health effects such as stroke, stained teeth, impotence in male persons, and lung cancer in non-smoking people due to secondary smoking (Dawood et al., 2016). The results are similar for study findings in several countries such as Iraq, China, India, and other Western Countries and hence the general conclusion (Dawood et al., 2016). Despite the population’s awareness of smoking’s health risks, Dawood et al. (2016) indicate that a low percentage (6.5%) of smokers are willing to abandon their habit. These findings correspond to findings from other countries such as China and India, which also have low intentions to quit. However, countries such as Canada and Australia, with high levels of understanding among the smoking population on the health risks of the behavior, had relatively more than three-quarters of the group willing to abandon smoking (Haddad et al., 2020). As such, there is a need to facilitate intervention measures since knowledge of smoking health impacts has proved to be a determinant for quitting.

Healthy Lifestyle Activity for Health Promotion

Living smoke-free is a challenge that requires an individual to maintain a healthy state of mind and body. Several habits can be helpful for a person to stay healthy, positive, and inspired. First, an individual should consider the number of days after quitting and keep the spirits and motivation up due to a sense of satisfaction (Magor‐Blatch and Rugendyke, 2016). Appreciating every milestone in the quit process would also be relevant until one reaches a significant journey such as a year without smoking. Regular relaxing sessions involving massage or yoga would be considered to divert the mind from cravings for smoke.

On the other hand, diet remains an essential aspect since high-fat foods and sugary meals can initiate the urge to smoke. Eating healthy meals would include few fried foods, fruits, and fried fish noodles. Withdrawing individuals would also need enough sleep to avoid the feeling of irritation and exhaustion, which can attract smoking behavior (Kalkhoran, Benowitz and Rigotti, 2018, p. 1040). Stable social support is essential, and hence one needs to create time to spend with their loved ones, including family members and friends. Therefore, developing these habits in life can help one stay healthy, positive, and smoke-free.

Interactive and Tailored Behavioral Intervention Measures for Smoking Behavior

A behavioral intervention is recommended for educating the population about healthy lifestyle choices. Depending on the needs of individuals, it is possible to introduce in-person behavioral support and counseling, telephone or online counseling, or self-help materials (American Family Physician, 2016)

The internet can influence behavioral transformation among a variety of groups due to its low cost for users. The tool reaches many people in one instance since there are over 3.5 billion internet users worldwide. The method can have a large-scale influence at a lower cost. Moreover, the internet is highly accessible at various access points such as internet cafes, smartphones and available all day and daily (Chebli Blaszczynski, and Gainsbury, 2016). For instance, of the 94.4% of the Dutch population who accessed the internet in 2016, 98.9% were individuals between 25 and 45 years old, while 98.3% were aged 45 to 65 (Cheung, Wijnen and de Vries, 2017). Moreover, eHealth health intervention in countries such as the Netherlands may not differ with education levels since the methods are highly used as recommended for people. These statistics illustrate the effectiveness of the intervention measure. Therefore, using an internet-based intervention approach would be appropriate for college students who may fail to reveal themselves as smokers or seek conventional therapies to quit the behavior.

Limitations to the Internet-Based Intervention

The internet has numerous websites with smoking cessation programs, although some lack direct intervention guidelines. The clients who wish to have information on cessation experience challenges distinguishing between the appropriate and irrelevant sites. Some of the websites fail to utilize the interactive and adapting capacity of the internet. Another hindrance to the method’s effectiveness would be that the program may reach an unintended audience. Simultaneously, the intervention measures may also fail to reach lower-income communities who are potentially smokers.

Responsibility as a Health Professional in the Intervention Process

Socio-cognitive factors are essential when considering the roles of a professional in counseling to initiate smoking cessation. I would adopt the counseling steps of the STIMEDIC guideline for the intervention (de Ruijter et al., 2017, p. 685). The first step would be to offer a piece of quit advice. Second, evaluating the smoking sketch and smoking history of the client would be necessary. It would be essential to examine the individual’s willingness to abandon the behavior, after which improvising ways to enhance motivation to quit smoking would follow. As a professional, it would be essential to identify the potential factors that could hinder quitting and discuss them before informing the client about the most appropriate cessation aids. The last and significant task would be to plan a quit date and organize a follow-up to assess the individual’s behavior (Kazemzadeh, Manzari and Pouresmail, 2017). These functions also represent the guideline for promoting intervention for smoking addiction.

The Impact of the Intervention

Online intervention programs can significantly affect individuals’ smoking behavior and help alter the prevalence of smokers in a particular population. The internet intervention involves various activities such as skills training, social support, and pharmacotherapy use which are vital components for the process (Graham et al., 2016, p. 55). Adherence to these components of smoking cessation would be more effective with adopting an internet-based intervention approach.

Conclusion

Public health promotion is an important phenomenon in promoting different components of public health such as disease prevention, physical health, and personal hygiene. Smoking among adults over 18 years old is a public health issue that requires intervention due to statistical evidence of its effects over the past decades. Smoking greatly contributes to various diseases among individuals, which are in turn fatal. Among the existing intervention measures to help reduce smoking prevalence, the internet-based approach is the most appropriate. Reaching a large number of people for face-to-face counseling would be costly and time-consuming, as such, leaving the internet-based strategy as the most effective.

Reference List

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