In the latest health survey, smoking kills people more than alcohol, AIDS, cocaine, homicide, suicide, motor vehicle crashes and fires combined.
However, in our society and the world over, smoking is widely accepted and even looked at as something that everyone goes through as part of normal development. There is nothing normal about smoking, nicotine which is the active compound in tobacco is addictive, the smoke inhaled in smoking contains tar and gases that cause, cancer, heart and respiratory illnesses. The difficulty in preventing adolescents from smoking is the fact that they can have easy access to it and it is often not viewed as addictive. Smoking is one of the earliest vices that young people learn. The reasons for smoking are complex and varied and sometimes irrational.
Smoking affects the body in numerous ways and is often associated with many illnesses and also has psychological implications.Teenagers often find themselves pressured to conform to the things that their peers do and most of them do not have the courage to stand up for themselves for fear of not being accepted by their peers. It in this context that most teenagers begin smoking, it becomes a sort if initiation or ritualistic act of the group. Young people generally get hooked in smoking easily and they often say that they smoke to be sociable, to appear more mature, to be attractive, to look “cool”, but it all boils down to conformity. Some teenagers however are more prone to start smoking at an earlier age than others, especially if their parents smoke and their parents do not mind about them smoking. In this scenario, the teenager would probably believe that smoking is not bad and there’s nothing wrong with smoking.The effects of smoking to young people are numerous and more serious than for adult smokers. Since young people are still developing physically, smoking interferes with the growth process and may hamper lung growth and functioning.
Those who smoke regularly are susceptible to coughs and severe respiratory illnesses. Moreover, the earlier the adolescent starts smoking, the more they ten to become addicted to nicotine and for most continue smoking throughout their life. Smoking in young people is also associated with risk taking behavior; adolescents who smoke are more likely to use alcohol and drugs, as well as promiscuity and aggressive behaviors. Smoking also has psychological implications for adolescents, in an age where they are developing their individuality and learning life skills, smoking becomes a coping mechanism as well as a sign of rebelliousness and this may extend into adulthood thus making it difficult for them to quit even with the knowledge that smoking can be fatal.Even with the extensive campaign against smoking in young people and even to the general public, the prevalence of smoking is expected to stay.
The reasons for smoking are in truth trivial when you think of its effects to the body. But the fact remains that even if people know that smoking is bad for the body, it does not stop them from engaging in it. Thus, programs intended to stop young people from smoking should consider that the perceived gains of smoking like peer acceptance and approval is immediate than its ramifications in their bodies which may take years to manifest.