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Smoking and adolescents, sacle of the problem!

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NAME: TEMITOPE ABAYOMI FADIYA PROGRAM: MPH COURSE: PUBLIC HEALTH ISSUES Email: fadiya@hytti.uku.fi SMOKING AND ADOLESCENTS, SCALE OF THE PROBLEM! "Cigarette smoking is a behavior that is initiated primarily during the adolescent years"(1). Hence, smoking is a habit that takes some effort to break since "cigarettes are highly efficient nicotine delivery device and is as addictive as cocaine"(2) "Nicotine is a drug of addiction" (3) and therefore the smoker becomes chemically addicted to it and consequently drawn into both a physical and psychological partnership with cigarette and thus the more the person smokes the more difficult it is to quit! The WHO rightly defined addition as "a state, psychic and sometimes also physical, resulting in the interaction between a living organism and a drug, characterized by behavior and other responses that always include a compulsion to take the drug on a continuous or period basis in order to enhance its psychic effects, and sometimes to avoid the discomfort of its absence. Tolerance may or may not be present"(4). "Tobacco use is the single leading cause of death in the United States, and the risk for smoking attributed disease increase the earlier in life smoking begins"(5) ...read more.


With such an astounding number of cases of smokers amongst adolescent aged less than 18 years calls for lots of concern on part of the society and the government! This support the fact that, really, apart from the social dimension to smoking, it is equally a learnt habit, most probably through psychosocial pressures when the smoker begins to rely on cigarette for what he or she believes to stimulating, relaxation or stress relief! "In most cases, learning to smoke occurs in adolescent age, parental control is less, and the individual acquires habits which depend largely on peer group"(9). Therefore, the overall picture shows that adolescents are the ones mostly involved in this act, since this is a stage in life where they experiment with lots of ideas and behavior and always want to conform to the lifestyle of friends. However, "trends in the initiation of cigarette smoking are important indicators for directing and evaluating prevention activities"(8). Thus, if cigarette smoking could be stopped, there would be immediate benefit for smokers, mostly adolescents, who when prevented from smoking the attendant morbidity and mortality associated with tobacco use will be greatly reduced. ...read more.


Secondly, certificate of cigarette manufacturing industries should be reviewed, taxes re-evaluated, and if possible laws monitoring the operation of these industries should be redefined - all these with the goal to discouraging smoking. Thirdly, the government should provide both financial and legal support - in the form of constitutional laws - at the federal, state and local levels, and this support should extend to professional and voluntary organizations, academic institutions. Fourthly, health education should be carried out to the doors of our communities. Equally important, the school authorities should be actively involved in the following ways: 1. public campaign within the campus against cigarette smoking. Services of voluntary organization within and outside of the campuses should be employed. 2. Re-evaluation of the orientation programmes for new intakes. For instance, films, health talk should be included in the orientation programme to further emphasize the hazards of cigarette smoking. 3. Laws should be established to safe-guard the health of others - the society. Smoking should not be allowed in class rooms, hostels, libraries, laboratories etc. In cases where these laws are already in place, efforts should be made to prevent breach of law. 4. Penalties should be stated, in the admission letter to new intakes against breach of school laws. ...read more.

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