Movies and Television Shows
* The media plays a big role in influencing the minds of young children and teenagers. Many movies and television shows feature popular characters smoking on the screen. Youngsters who see this may begin to see smoking in a positive light. They may become more open to the idea of smoking and try to smoke the same brands as their favorite actors on screen.
* According to the American Lung Association, tobacco companies target teenagers and children through advertising. Smoking kills thousands of people each year and many others quit. To make up for this loss of consumers, the tobacco companies choose youngsters because they are easy targets. They use several advertising tactics to lure children. Advertisements project smoking as a cool, grown-up thing to do.
* Many teenagers start smoking just because they want to try it out. Because of the influence of advertisements, they are curious to try out this activity that appears so independent and grown-up. Some teenagers also start smoking because they want to appear rebellious. Teenagers can quickly become addicted to nicotine without even realizing it. Though the intention was only to try a cigarette, many teenagers go on to become regular smokers.
* Many teenagers who smoke have parents who are smokers. Parents are the biggest influence in the lives of their children. By smoking in the presence of their children, many parents send the message that smoking is acceptable and not detrimental to health. It is important for parents to communicate with their children from a young age and explain to them the ill effects of smoking. Parents must also set a good example by quitting smoking or avoiding it in the presence of their children.
* The influence of friends and popular kids is another important reason why teenagers start smoking. According to the Canadian Lung Association, more than 70 percent of teenagers say that peer pressure and having friends who smoke are the main reason they started smoking. Teenagers may accept a cigarette because they do not want to turn down their friends or because they want to do what all their friends are doing. Parents must know if their children have friends who smoke. They must also explain the dangers of second-hand smoking and ways to refuse a cigarette from a friend.
As teenage girls struggle with self-identity, the fear of gaining weight or the desire to lose weight can lead some to smoke, according to the University of Florida. Models in advertisements may be portrayed as thin and glamorous. Teenagers may find that cigarettes satisfy cravings for food, according to Teen Smoking. However, smoking has significantly more harmful effects than food choices. Parents emphasizing healthy eating may help to overcome some of these misconceptions and teach teens habits that can stay with them.
Effects of smoking –
* Life is full of stress, on the personal and professional fronts, and smoking is a coping mechanism. Every day brings its own share of problems, and lighting up is a way to deal with the stress. For smokers, emotional needs take precedence over the physical damage smoking does to the body. Smokers are well aware of smoking’s harmful effects but can’t stop because they have no other defense mechanism against stress.
Smoking Is Viewed As a Reward
* For reward-hungry people, smoking is a reward that can be enjoyed as often as the smoker chooses. Smokers often promise themselves a cigarette as soon as a particular task is completed. A smoker’s first and last cigarettes of the day are the best rewards: The first one symbolizes an anticipated recompense, and the last one symbolizes the end of a hard day’s work. Smoking, to some people, is the reward introduced into everyday living to compensate for having to go to work, get stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic, put up with a nasty boss and deal with screaming kids back home.
Smoking Provides Oral Pleasure
* One reason why people smoke is the oral pleasure it gives them. This oral pleasure goes beyond the taste, which is often not sufficient satisfaction. Oral pleasure is likened to hunger or thirst — fundamental needs that require gratification. Watching smokers inhale, you can see the satisfied expression on their faces. Habitual smokers need to feel the sensuous thrill of the first smoke inhalation after they light up a cigarette.
Companion Effect of Smoking
* For some people, smoking is like being with a friend. Watching a cigarette glow in the dark makes the smoker feel less alone. A lit cigarette takes on the appearance of something alive. The companionship aspect of smoking is also reflected in the fact that being a smoker helps people make friends. It breaks down social barriers and helps people start conversations with total strangers easily because of a shared habit.
Top 10 Reasons for Teenage Smoking
* Teenagers tend to imitate their parents. In case, their parents, either one of them, is a smoker, then they also pick up the habit from them. They prefer doing what the adults do. * Peer pressure has its impact on teenagers. Friends force them into smoking. Often, they feel a need to be part of a peer group. In case, this group consists of smokers, then they also smoke. * Advertisements encourage teenagers to smoke. Respective governments in many governments have banned certain advertisements, which portray smoking as a very “enjoyable experience”. * Teenagers smoke to escape from the pressures of modern living. Often emotional pressures make them smoke too much. * Many teenagers who come from broken families face a lot of emotional disturbances. They either take to drugs or alcohol and smoking is also a way out for them to escape from harsh realities of life. * Some teenagers feel they are grown-ups if they smoke. They would like to be adults as quickly as possible and would also like others to treat them so.
* It is also fashionable to smoke. Many teenage boys and girls feel very “hep” when they smoke. If they do not, they feel they are missing out on something, which most people do. * The influence of favorite cine star smoking is also there on teenagers. They would like to do what their favorite actor or actress does. * Rebellious attitude also forces teenagers to smoke. If they are forced by adults not to smoke, they would exactly do the opposite. Adolescence is a phase when most teenagers do not listen to their parents or well-wishers. They would like to do what they consider is the best for them. * Teenagers like to experiment. When they see others smoking, particularly adults, they also would like to try it out. Initially, it may be for fun, but later on they often get addicted to it. Smoking is injurious to health.
Teenagers who begin smoking early in life face many health problems in adulthood. Efforts ore on to educate the public in general about the negative consequences of smoking and teenagers are also a targeted audience. Around 1.2 billion people in the world are smokers out of which 90% are aware of the harmful effects of smoking. Still, most of the smokers think that, they won’t be the one to be victimized and they have got enough time to lose the habit. The only thing smokers get from smoking tobacco is the temporary good feeling and stress release. Anyone in the right mind would know that it is better not to free your stress by smoking because it is going to cost a lot, one’s health, money, time and happiness. The number of smokers in the world is increasing day by day; every now and then someone is picking up this habit. Smoking statistics shows that, tobacco related disease kill one in ten people worldwide and in America it is one in five.
One third of the male population and one fifth of the teen population are smokers. The health effect of smoking are not same in everyone, some who have smoked for ages may lead a normal life with minimal health risk, whereas others who picked up the habit in a few years are found to have severe smoking related diseases. This is due to the fact that different people have different genetic makeup. A person with cancer susceptible gene has an elevated chance of getting the disease, when in contact with environmental factors, in this case- tobacco smoke. Tobacco smoke is found to contain 4000 different chemicals and over 45 carcinogens, of which 11 are most potent, Type 1 carcinogen. Each of the chemical affects the health in different ways and each and every part of the body can be damaged by this carcinogen-toxin mix. Smoking has both short term and long term health effect. Very short exposure to tobacco smoke can cause many health problems usually respiratory illness like cough, bronchitis, cold and pneumonia.
Increased heart beat, high blood pressure dizziness, irritation of eye and throat, low appetite and reduced blood flow to extremity are also associated with short term tobacco use. The short term effects are seen in people who are occasional smokers or recent smokers. Occasional smokers have 2.4 times more risk of cancer than non smokers. On the long run, smoking causes many more diseases and disorders. The list of diseases caused by long term smoking is a bit scary. Continuing smoking habit can make us like dead meat, finding it difficult even to breathe in air. The long term users are trading his health and life for every bit of poison, tar, carbon monoxide, and carcinogen that he takes in, finally loosing around 14 years from his precious life – ‘a very high price to pay for the poison mix’.
Prolonged use of cigarette causes cardiovascular disease due to narrowing the arteries. Over 30% of coronary thrombosis is caused by smoking, kidney failure and cerebral thrombosis etc are other heart related problems caused by smoking. In smokers, coronary thrombosis is found to occur at least 10 years prior to that in non smokers. A large majority of lung cancer (90%) and throat cancer patients are smokers. The frequency and period of smoking increases the risk of diseases as it is dose related, the more you smoke, the more risk you are at. Oral cancer, bladder cancer, colorectal cancer and esophageal cancer risk is increased by smoking. 80% of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), which are group of breathing problem caused by blockage of air flow, is also tobacco related. Emphysema and chronic bronchitis are included in COPD. Emphysema is the condition where the patient finds it very difficult to breath as most of the alveoli or air sac of the lungs is damaged. 94% of smokers who use 20 cigarettes a day are found to have some degree of emphysema.
Other risk caused by long term smoking includes heart attack, stroke, muscular degeneration, cataract, loss of eyesight and ulcers. Smoking reduces the antioxidants and immunocompetant cell in the body, making the smoker less immune to diseases. Smoking is also related to impotency in men and low fertility in women. Smoking in expecting mothers increases the risk of abortion and complicates delivery. It is also associated with Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Smoking increases the blood sugar by inhibiting insulin production, it also accounts for increased levels of low density lipoprotein (LDL) or bad cholesterol. Passive smoking poses as a risk to innocent non smokers who accidently inhale the second hand smoke. The risk factor for cancer in passive smokers is high when compared to a person who hasn’t come in contact with second hand smoke in any stage of life. Children whose parents smoke are at a higher risk of asthma and bronchitis.
In infants second hand smoke causes severe respiratory infections. Second hand smoke also increases the chance of lung, bladder and cervical cancer. Tobacco, alcohol and drugs are addictives that affects the general health and emotional well being of a person. It is indeed difficult to quit these habits, but quitting has a lot health and emotional benefits. On the negative side, the ‘ex smokers’ starts to show withdrawal symptoms like dryness of mouth, irritability, temper etc on quitting tobacco. They have an uncontrollable urge to smoke, and they become edgy and demanding during this phase. These withdrawal symptoms can be overcome with the help of counseling, using quitting aid and by joining a quitter support group.
The love and care provided by the family members help the smoker to overcome this stage. On quitting cigarette, the general health of the person starts to improve and the risk of various diseases subsides. The blood pressure, heart rate, blood sugar and cholesterol start to come under control within weeks of quitting. 15 years after your very last cigarette, you become nearly as healthy as a non smoker. Quitting will improve your emotional wellbeing and happiness of your family. Quitting also improves the financial status as thousands of dollars spent on cigarette and treatment of smoking related disease is saved. It is never too late, try your hardest and you can. Shed of all the risk and evolve into a healthy human.
Lung capacity tends to grow as a child grows. The ribcage gets bigger and bigger, allowing the lungs to stretch to new sizes, and the body just grows larger and more powerful as time passes. Teens who smoke, however, can arrest this process, essentially freezing their lung capacity in place. In one study of the issue, reported in the Washington Post, researchers found that children who started smoking at age 15 exhaled 8 percent less air per second than teens who did not smoke, and their lung capacity growth stopped one year earlier as well. These aren’t losses that can be amended in time. These are losses that could be felt for the rest of the teen’s life. Teens who smoke may also develop:
* Heart disease
Some of these issues develop due to tiny tissue damage that accumulates slowly, one little step at a time, until the teen is no longer able to resist the pull of damage. While anyone who smokes is susceptible to this kind of damage, there is some evidence that suggests that teens are at greater risk for causing catastrophic damage to their bodies due to smoking. According to a study in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, adolescence is considered a crucial growth period, especially for the lungs, and damage that takes place during adolescence might have a greater impact than damage that takes place at any other time. During adolescence, when cells are rapidly dividing and growing, any little changes in genetic codes due to smoking damage could become permanent and cause lifelong illness down the road. A study in the journal BMJ Open makes this risk even more clear.
Here, researchers found a link between age of smoking initiation and lung cancer: The younger people were when they started smoking, the more likely they were to develop lung cancer. Doing damage during a critical time of development could lead to an early cancer diagnosis. No matter whether the majority of the damage is caused by cancer or whether the damage can be attributed to lung dysfunction, one thing is clear: Adolescents who smoke are shortening their lives. The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids reports that smokers lose an average of 13 to 14 years of life due to their smoking habits. That might be reason enough for parents to get serious with their kids about the need to develop a smoke-free lifestyle.
The Rise of Addiction
Nicotine is incredibly addictive, and teens seem to be especially vulnerable to addictive drugs like this. The American Lung Association reports that teens who have smoked at least 100 cigarettes in their lifetime find it hard to quit, even if they want to do so. Some teens develop addictions even more quickly, and they experience cravings for nicotine quite soon after initiating cigarette use. Teens can also become addicted to the process of smoking, finding it difficult to even think about going through the day without the ability to unwrap a pack of cigarettes, flick open a lighter or hear the paper of the cigarette crackle with flame.
Courtney from Study Moose
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