Everyperson knows that smoking is a hazardous habit. The rates of teensthat smoke are at a record low for the first time, but the numbersare still alarming. In the United States alone, four thousand fourhundred individuals who are between the age of twelve years andseventeen are reported to begin smoking each day. Two thousand ofthese people eventually turn out to be daily smokers. All theseindividuals believe that having the first cigarette will not killthem. Though they know it is a bad habit, most teens and preteensassume that it is safe to smoke a few cigarettes each day and thenstop the habit after anumber ofyears. Many of them make the choice that they can start smoking nowand when it is time to quit, they will easily do so. Others have tobethoughtthat they can smoke as much as they want and when the time comes forthem to betreatedfor cancer, the cure will already be there (Clete 2005).
Thereality of the matter is that those who start to smoke will turn outto be one of the three types of smokers. The first group is usuallythose that get addicted quickly. The second group is the type ofsmokers who get addicted to smoking in a gradual manner, and finally,the group of those smokers smokes very lightly and quit the habitwith ease. Most of the smokers are classified under category two,where they get addicted to smoking gradually. The unfortunate part isthat those who smoke have a clear understanding of the consequencesof their habit, but they still do it. In previous times, people havehad the idea that it takes a person a long time from the initialintake of cigarettes to get addicted to the nicotine contained in thesubstance. However, research conducted by Dr. Joseph DiFranza and hiscolleagues, who were from the University of Massachusetts sets showedotherwise (Lapointe 72).
Thestudy revealed that a person gets addicted to nicotine just a fewdays after the initial intake of cigarettes. this was through anobservation of the symptoms of nicotine defense in individuals whosmoked cigarettes in the first few days of smoking. The researchersidentified that individuals would lose their ability to control theirdesire after the first twenty cigarettes. The results were worse forkid smokers who would become addicted on the first cigarette (Eleanor2001). Most teenagers are still growing and developing and at thistime, their brains are working on their development process.Researchers have identified this to be the reason the teenagers areat risk of starting smoking and being admitted to the habit. This iswhy most companies that produce cigarettes hope for teenagers tostart smoking.
Accordingto a survey that was carried by the National Youth Tobacco Survey, itwas identified that more that thirteen percent of students in themiddle school where smoking. It was discovered that the number ofboys and girls who smoked was averagely equally. For those who wentto high school, more than twenty-eight percent were found to smoke.More than thirty-two percent of the male high school students werefound to smoke compared to twenty-three percent of the girls. Therates of smoking since the nineteen seventies have been on a rise afall up to now. It has also been identified that white teens are morelikely to smoke cigarettes compared to their black and Hispaniccounterparts.
Itis difficult for an individual to start smoking at the age of twentyand above. It can, therefore, be concluded that most people who smokestarted smoking when they were young especially in their teen yearsspecifically at the age of fourteen (Eleanor 67). Many teenagers donot have the right facts about smoking, and they make manyassumptions, which make it very easy for them to start smoking. Mostof those who smoke for a lifetime started the habit when they werestill younger than fifteen years. Studies show that the dependency onnicotine for those who were younger smokers is higher than thosestarted smoking at any other age.
Thereare many reasons behind why teenagers start smoking. Many of them doit out of curiosity. They want to see what is in smoking andtherefore, start smoking. Many others tart the habit due t o peerpressure. Their age mates who engage in the same habit usuallyinfluence them. They also learn the same habit from older siblings.Issues like self-esteem, weight issues, and body image lead tocigarette smoking by teenagers. Studies have shown that thosechildren who come from home environments with violence, domesticabuse, drug abuse or criminal activities, are more likely to startsmoking compared to those from family environments that arehealthier. These children use smoking as a coping mechanism to theunpleasant environment. These children have low esteem and aresusceptible to peer pressure (Margaret & Setaro 56).
Smokinghas also been associated with genes. Researchers have identified thatvariations in a gene in the brain system are associated with earlysmoking. If an individual inherits this gene from both parents,he/she is most likely vulnerable to early smoking than a person whodoes not have the gene. Another huge reason for teen smokers is theadvertisement made in the media about cigarettes and smoking. Whenthey see the adverts, the teenagers want to be like the adults theywatch because they think that they are sophisticated. On one hand,boys want to look masculine like the men they see in the adverts and,on the other hand, the girls think that the women they see in theadverts are beautiful and sophisticated. That is why the startsmoking to be likes those in the advertisements.
Teensmoking has been on the rise in the previous years with the youngsmokers who start replacing those who either have died due to smokingor have quit. Research shows that there is a difference in teensmoking recently. Many young people nowadays find it expensive anddangerous. They also think that their friends would never approve oftheir smoking. They view smoking as a habit that is not sociallyacceptable. In other instances, those who are unable to stop hidetheir cigarettes from those around them. Despite all theadvertisement aired on the television, the number of teens who startsmoking has reduced compared to previous times. Many of them aregetting education and information on the dangers of cigarettes, andthey do not find it as amazing as it was viewed before (Clete 56).
Inaddition to personal feelings and opinions, smoking has been bannedin certain areas and places. This banning has improved compared toprevious times. This means that it is not that easy to identify aplace to smoke. Previously, there was a place set up in restaurantsfor smoking, but new regulations have been put in place to get rid ofthese places. Nowadays, people are not allowed to smoke in publicbuildings, offices, when using public transportation and even in alot of bars. There was an existing ban on smoking indoors when theban on smoking in many bars in New York was put in place. This hastherefore put constrains on the smoking that takes place in differentstates (Beales 101).
Inconclusion, tobacco has been identified to be a very deadly substanceclaiming the lives of more than four hundred thousand people in theUnited States. The rates of teenagers who smoke may have reduced overtime, but there are still those who are introduced to smoking.However the opinion of many teenagers on smoking has changed overtime, and they do not find it as interesting as it used to be. Theyare becoming aware of all the dangers of smoking and opt to keep off.It also depends on the parents and the adults in the lives of theteens to make sure that they live and grow up in an environment thatdoes not push the towards smoking but encourages them to beself-confident and grow up to be useful individuals. They should alsohelp cultivate a strong self-esteem in the children through theirinteractions with the children.
Beales,Gerald. Smoking.Dunstable, U.K: Folens Publishers, 2000. Print.
Clete,Snell. PeddlingPoison: The Tobacco Industry and Kids.Westport Connecticut: Preager Publishing, 2005. Print.
EleanorH. Ayer. TeenIssues:Teen Smoking.San Diego California, Lucent Books. 2001. Print.
Lapointe,Martin M. AdolescentSmoking and Health Research.New York: Nova Biomedical Books, 2008. Print.
MargaretO. Hyde and John F.Setaro, Anoverview for teens: Smoking 101.Minneapolis, Minnesota,Twenty First Century books, 2006. Print.