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Substance Abuse Essay

Smoking can cause many illnesses and it harms every organ in a person’s body. It doesn’t just affect those who smoke but can affect their families, their Co-workers and their overall health. “Cigarette smoking causes more than 480,000 deaths each year in the United States. This is about one in five deaths.”(CDC, 2014) Even though many people are aware of the risks that come with smoking cigarettes they continue to do so no matter the cost. I will be discussing the factors that influence people to smoke, how it can affect their jobs, help that is available in the work place, and how it can affect your mental health as well as your physical.

There are many influence factors that play a role in why people start smoking. Family history is one of the most common factors. Most people that smoke started when they were adolescents. Children coming from homes where members of their family smoke tend to follow suit. The kids do this because children like to imitate their parents and older siblings and they think it is acceptable behavior. “Children from families where smoking is prevalent tend to develop the habit and are less likely to quit later in life.” (Dr. Susan Jewell, live strong, 2014) Another factor that plays a huge role in influencing children to smoke is peer pressure. Peer pressure influences a lot like family history. The children see theirs friends doing it and get encouragement to try it from them. The threat that a child might lose friends or popularity seems huge when you’re an adolescent and usually leads to them trying it just to save face. The more they are with their smoking friends the more they smoke until they are addicted and can no longer quit easily.

Smoking doesn’t only affect the smoker but can affect the people around them like their Co-workers as well. More and more employers are making their businesses nonsmoking and that includes their employees as well. This is good because it provides a healthier work environment for the employees who have chosen not to smoke. Most businesses have an area where employees can go outside and get fresh air on their breaks but these areas are being used as smoking areas. Employees that don’t smoke either have to stand in second hand smoke or chose not to go outside. This is not fair to those who want to live a healthier lifestyle. It’s the same when it comes to insurance rates being higher because a business has a lot of smokers on staff. This makes the rates go up for everyone because the business is at a higher risk over all.

So those who have made the smart choice to not smoke have to pay more because of the choices of their coworkers. Luckily a lot of employers are either switching to being a full nonsmoking company or they are offering options for those that smoke. Walmart is a company that offers their employees the chance to quit at the companies expense. They offer to pay for nicotine patches or nicotine gum for a full year to all their employees. This promotes quitting and living a healthier lifestyle and makes it easier being the employees don’t have to pay out of pocket for the help. As the employees take the company up on their offer and quit smoking Walmart becomes a healthier work environment. This is a win-win for both the employees and the company.

Many people who smoke say that it helps with their mental health issues such as stress, anxiety, depression, and even schizophrenia. Smokers think this because they have become addicted to nicotine and when they don’t get enough nicotine they start to go through withdrawals. This causes stress, anger, anxiety and depression. When they are able to smoke again the nicotine reaches their brain in seconds and this causes relief from the withdrawal which in turn gives the smoker a sense of relief from the side effects. People with schizophrenia have all of the side effects listed above from having the illness and this makes them three times more likely to start smoking and never quit. (Mental Health Foundation, 2014) While many smokers believe smoking helps reduce these side effects they usually start smoking before ever having to deal with these problems.

Smoking is a dangerous habit that affects everyone even those who have never smoked. There are many ways we can help as a society. By simply educating our children better on what smoking can do and how it can affect their future we can help reduce the number of children who are at risk of starting to smoke. Companies offering help for their employees who smoke can help create a healthier work environment for all employees and help by showing that it is not acceptable to put others at risk with your personal choices. To make a change our society needs to band together and fight this danger.

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