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The Harmful Influence Of Tobacco

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  • Pages: 22
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  • Category: Tobacco

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This research paper is focused on the harmful influence of tobacco upon the young people lives.



Childhood and the youth’s time is some kind of critical period in the life of every human being when the social-economic circumstances and the health risk factors can have the lasting and serious effects.


Present research paper is aimed with the promotion of life without cigarettes and reducing smoking about UK teenagers.


 Raising awareness through mass media campaigns, implementation of smoking bans in public places, encouraging the young people interest to anti-tobacco campaigns, increasing teenager’s participating in the anti-smoking school sessions, raise awareness about the tobacco’s impact on the human-being health, help to choose right life style which reflects their wellbeing, health and safety.

Epidemiological data

A current paper includes the statistics research based on the UK territory. Different literature sources were used for provide the true data of investigation. The UK school learners’ questionnaires were compared with the USA smoking statistic research and the similar questionnaire which took place in Canadian schools. Both questionnaires were based on the same teenagers’ age level; the difference is that research, made in the UK as a result has the percentage level of smokers and non smokers among participated 11-14 years olds. At the same time Canadian research is concerned on the anti smoking school programs’ influence on the teenagers’ attitude to smoking. All the received data was used for building the real scale of the problem.

Health promotion Intervention

Health education method in the current text is used in the form of importing knowledge with the purpose of changing the attitude. Warning about life style diseases high risk such as heart stroke and cancer was used as the prevention method (statistics of smoking mortality). Health protection politic in the text is realized through investigation of health promotion programs’ impact on the normal UK school life, how we are able to defend ourselves, do we want it?

Evaluation Method

Group based questionnaire, was used as the evaluation method to obtain the real percent of teenager smokers in the UK schools.


I believe that when so many people all over the world do care about our coming generation’s health all these desirable events will be just the very first step towards the way of building new, non smoking society…


  1. Expand the smoking cessation services, make them highly attendant;
  2. Provide the proper trainings and courses to the teachers staff;
  3. Create the teenagers’ non smoking help line;
  4. Send the non smoking initiatives through Health Promotion Schools and Community Schools;
  5. Keeping the non smoking policy at the working places, providing the active help for staff to give up;
  6. Support the National Non Smoking Day;
  7. The non smoking cessations should be organized for smoking teenagers’ parents to make the family atmosphere clean and healthy;
  8. The additional rewards should be provided to schools which showed the best progress in the non smoking movement.
  9. Pupils who have already given up with smoking should share the experience and lead non smoking clubs to attract more and more young people to their healthy family.
  1. The control on the tobacco selling should be improved; here should be no accidents with selling tobacco to children.


Childhood and the youth’s time is some kind of critical period in the life of every human being when the social-economic circumstances and the health risk factors can have the lasting and serious effects. This paper is focused on the idea of early Healthy School Programs intervention and their influence upon the young people’s life style choice. The area of research is the UK 11- 14 years old teenagers smoking involving into smoking activity, reasons and motivations for starting smoking in the early age, and evaluating the prevention  technologies’ effectiveness . In the other words what can help to stop smoking among the 11-14 years old teenagers.

To define the concept of health promotion is not an easy task because it has the different meaning for the different range of people in the variety of social fields. From my point of view disease prevention, wellness, happiness, quality of life, health promotion are the terms which are commonly used in every community, but  have not equal level of  their understanding. To provide the proper definition of the health promotion term we need to specify the meaning of health in general. The ancient Greek defined “health” as a perfect body condition, in the same time Indians believed that to be healthy means to live in the harmony with nature; one of the most interesting ways of the term definition gave us Chinese – they saw health as the reflection of “Qi” power (Edelman, 1986). One of the very first medical definitions of the term “health” was given by World Health Organization (WHO) in 1946th.

They described health as not the absence of diseases only but as the good physical, mental and social condition of the individual. Many of health promoters today expand the traditional idea of healthy body, defined by WHO more then fifty years ago. Following the definition of health promotion activity given by Michael O’Donnell, the chief editor of Health Promotion Journal we can see the following statement: “Health Promotion is a science and art, which helps people to change their life style and to move successfully towards the idea of optimal health” (O’Donnell, 1986). The main task and the highest purpose of the health promotion programs is teaching people how to be healthy, how critically  to change their life style to be able to rich their best physical and mental form. Studying, programs and approaches which help people to choose the right way are in a high importance today. The main aim of anti smoking health promotion program in the UK is to reduce the rate of smoking teenagers aged 11-14 years, this is the actual objective for UK government today.

Ronald Reid in his “Tobacco control: overview” stresses that the target of effective government tobacco control program will be achieved through “use of high reach interventions such as fiscal policy and mass communications” (Donald Reid, 2000). The government attitude to the smoking problem is reflected by Memorandum from Action on Smoking and Health, published in 2005th. From legislation side we can see that proposal to end smoking in the great majority of public places was agreed in the very high government level.

This gives to society a chance to avoid the harmful influence on the secondhand smokers’ health as well as to make the advertising of healthy way of life, and to help the heavy smokers to quit their bad habit. With the time the UK government plans to stop smoking in pubs and bars where the prepared food isn’t served, as well as in private membership clubs. “UK Government has spent almost one billion pounds to the public health in the last three years” claims Dr. John Reid (White Paper, 2005).   Within government anti-smoking program Britain is going to reduce the mortality rates by 2010th, also the health inequalities will be 10% reduced by 2010th. I think it is a good start for healthy society indeed.

One thing is commonly known by everybody that if person is aware about the values he spends out through unhealthy way of life, then he or she is already on the half way to his or her life improvement and here the health promotion plays one of the main roles. Health promotion in the smoking area is focused in the three main spheres according the methods and activities are used. They are health education, disease prevention, and health protection. Cooperation between all the three spheres guarantees the successful anti-smoking campaign.

On prevention stage the following steps are in the privilege: immunization, screenings, nicotine containing chewing gums usage, smokers’ plasters, etc. This theory is equal to Tannahill’s theory who analyzed the every branch with the following details. Health education is a complex of teaching life skills to children including such possible approaches as medical, behavioral, empowerment, and social change (Downie, Fyfe, Tannahill, 1990). The key components of effective prevention tobacco program include the right taxation policy, a ban on promotion, and a popular health promotional campaign, where all the factors will be explained by professional specialists (Raw, M., & McNeill, A., 1994).

There are three main stages of the successful health education intervention – importing knowledge, then changing attitude, and after changing the people’s behavior. Effective health promotion is usually locally developed, goes to achieving its aim through different approaches and involves or impacts the close communities and groups. Britain still has one of the highest tobaccos mortal rates among European countries. A third of all adults smokes cigarettes that leads to the increasing accidents of death in the middle age. Martin Raw in Addiction Journal claims that without “the intervention of government policies, smoking prevalence and the amount smoked per smoker is likely to rise, especially for young people” (Martin Raw, 1993). This article underlines the importance of health education among the school children due to the smoking problem and the active government participating in it. One of the main enemies of health care programs is the absence of knowledge.

The next confusion factor is advertising, tobacco advertisers are the great inventors of tricks, they do it even through awareness that “smoking is killing”. It is a matter of fact that we can enjoy the tobacco companies advertising where they tell us how harmful the smoking is. European Journal of Marketing gives us the chance to observe the hot debates about whether the direct connection between tobacco advertising and children smoking. I am happy about the summarizing of ideas, where all the sides are agreed that “it is no longer tenable to deny that cigarette advertising does influence children’s smoking” (Hastings, G., & Aitken, P., 2005). One of the groups of risk includes the school children and the adults with lower level of education, who are the most, affected by advertising and have wrong life stereotypes. That’s why the intervention of anti-smoking program in the school level is the very effective tool to prevent not only early smoking but the smoking in more senior age.

To maintain the smoking reducing effect we will need the years, but this effect is worth to wait (Crone, M., & Reijneveld, S., & Willemsen, F., & Leerdam, F. 2003). A very actual question has occurred: “What predicts the pupils’ attendance to the school based programs”. Lindsey Turner offers us the actual research factors which were taken from history of 10-session program based on the school platform. The participants were students from the local university and from 29 schools across the UK. The groups were composed according to demographic varieties, varieties of smoking history, and social cultural levels. The attendance was predicted by high motivations and trustful, less stress base. Young people who attended the session could feel the strong desire to smoke and tried to quit them, but after they did it, they became to attend more carefully, because the recognition about harm of smoking was already in their minds (Turner, L. 2004).

Health protection includes variety of norms and regulations which affect the society on the different levels, either the legislative level or the community level. Smoking policy on working areas, public places’ policy, tobacco taxes and different leisure activities are the one field players here aimed with health protection idea. Health promotion programs show the high economic value in numerous countries all over the world. 21st century met the population aging problem, increasing the level of diseases, and the cost of health care as a result. “What contribution can health economics make to health promotion?” (Hale, J., 2000). This article is the kind of documented discussion between the representatives of health promotional agencies from Wales, England, and Scotland about the position paper necessity to regulate economics and health promotional relations. In the UK the actual cost of smoking according to the NHS records is almost five hundred millions pounds.

Nearly thirty three thousands people lung cancer kills every year. According to the latest statistics smoking is also a high risk factor for people, who are diagnosed for coronary heart disease and stroke, so smoking reducing will save more and more lives, and NHS costs (Pharmacy Audit, 2005).  Lifestyle diseases such as heart disease, cancer, alcohol, drugs, and tobacco use made 43% of all hospital admissions in the last few years. In this situation nearly all the biggest enterprises are interested to have healthy employees and their participating in variety of health promotion programs increase. Anti-smoking campaigns are becoming popular not only at the working , studying places but outside in the streets including bus stops, summer cafes, sea beaches, parks, public gardens and other leisure places.

The multilevel analyzing based on self reported smoking behavior was performed in Wales, last year, in summer. Fifty five schools, fifty five teachers and one thousand three hundreds seventy five pupils in the age from 11 – 15 were involved in the activity. Current research is based on the pupils reports, which were stick in one of following six categories:

“I have never smoked”;

“I have only tried once to smoke”;

“I used to smoke sometimes, but I do not smoke now;

“Sometimes I smoke cigarettes now but no more then one per week”;

“My week cigarette dosage is between one and six per week”;

“Usually I smoke more then six cigarettes per week.”

Pupils, who pointed that they have never tried to smoke, were invited to answer the next checking question: “Just for check only please specify one of the buttons, which gives the best characteristics to you: I have never tried the cigarettes/ not even the half or one/ I have tried the cigarette only once but I do not smoke now/ Sometimes I smoke cigarettes, usually, when I am stressed”. Not that big amount of pupils of this age was indicated as non smokers, and people, who never tried the cigarettes. Mostly the results vary in dependence of the school smoking policy. For example in schools with written non smoking policy for children and adults, were all the cases of smoking are severe restricted the percent level of young smokers is 9,1%. The schools with less strict smoking policy where teachers are aloud to smoke the percentage of smoking young people is around 21%, that is doubled in comparison with schools who provide the strict non smoking policy.

When we will take schools with no smoking policy at all, where teachers’ staff and pupils smoking is a “common thing”, we will receive 30,1% of smoking reports per year. The comparison of questionnaire’s data  shows us that the number of teenager smokers is much less in the schools where this habit is strictly forbidden, also where parents keep themselves aware about the possibility of their children being involved  to the bad habit. This cooperation between school and family is really the powerful tool for keeping our children on the right way.

This experiment shows us not only the right way to achieve the reduce of teenagers’ smoking  but also helps us to evaluate our efforts towards keeping children informed about harmful influence of such kind of behavior. Generally this research “demonstrates the close connection between policy strength, policy enforcement and privilege smoking among pupils, after the research was adjusted to their level characteristics” (Moore, L., & Roberts, C., & Tudor-Smith, C. (2002).

So why are people smoking? How popular is the smoking among the teenagers’ social group? From the very beginning children who have just come to school only for 1% are involved to regular smoking. Smoking comes with age, at the age of 15 there are around 20% of pupils are the regular smokers. Smoking statistics shows the percentage reducing during the last 10 years among the 14-15 years old smokers, although the situation with 11-14 years remains stable (Smoking statistics, 2007). As a matter of fact the more adults are giving up, the more teenagers are starting, and it is the truth of life. For example the last year smoking case study has found that 57% of Irish adolescents are smokers or were smokers. The Irish revenue from cigarette sales to children under 16 years old, which is totally illegal, was calculated in 108 millions pounds in tax receipts two years ago. Definitely terrible facts! How tobacco industry can sell cigarettes to young adults?

Their strong argument Pamela Ling and Glantz Stanton build on the evidence from tobacco industry documents. The objective of analyze was to improve the government control on tobacco companies and reduce their advertising strategy focused on the encouraging young adults 15 to 24 to smoke. The following conclusions came from their investigation that government tobacco control effort should include both young people and more senior adults. The life is changing giving us the opportunity to avoid the occasional smoking and to stop the addiction progress (Ling, P., & Glantz, S. 2002). For comparison we have provided the equal investigation among Welsh pupils aged 11-15. Through prototyping problems of so close regions we will be able to evaluate the situation in general all over the UK.

Another evidence is based on the research was provided in the Mid England underlines the connection between smoking and psychosocial disorders affecting young people. These cases have increased during the last fifty years. Actually we have the different time data, different environmental characteristics and different types of individuals, but what if we have the one common reason for them?

The method was used provided the same questionnaires for parents of 11-15 years old teenagers in the different periods of time – 1976, 1990, 2002. Results of these questionnaires shows us the increasing of teenagers conduct problems, they affected males and females in a very intensive way over last 25 years. The aggressive non adequate conduct is detected in the 60% of explored cases. One of the most interesting facts is that the half of teenagers with hyperactive, outrageous conduct is belonged to the smoking families or smokes themselves. Further analyze proves the idea of close connection between smoking, social psychological problems, and misbehavior (Collishaw, S., & Maughan, B. 2004).

Smoking involves not the psychological problems only, but also the health of those who are smoking is in danger. Mostly smokers belong to the lung cancer group of risk. Even more one of the latest medicine studies shows us the close connection between lung cancer diseases diagnosed in the middle aged adolescences and starting smoking in the early age.  In this research 4320 school children were participated aged from 11 till 15 from 36 English schools. The 5 years history of social behavior and health behavior was composed for each participant. Through the post code studying was provided the detailer examination of socioeconomic environment for each person, starting with neighborhoods and family, including the accommodation condition.

The main aim of this study was to explore the major quantity of cancer risk factors and to identify which of them influence the high mortality from the lung cancer in adult life. For our evidence the facts that early smoking causes the 30% of adult mortality and affected the heart diseases in the 47% of cases give us the push to stop and to think how proceed with our life carefully, because this chance have been given to the human being just one, no repetition, just the performance (Wardle, Ph.D., & Jarvis, D. Sc., 2003). Smoking affects mortality not only across the UK but worldwide. As the example we can take one of the latest researches made by UK Cancer Association in 2004.

Estimates are based on the forty-four countries from all over the world. In developed countries according to our statistics tobacco took in the percentage calculation 24% from all male deaths and 7% from all female deaths. In the developing countries, where the anti smoking politic is not the government target the tobacco mortal digits are really terrible. For example, every year from smoking die over 40% of males, and 37% of females. This picture is actual for the USA today where 37% of females die from smoking. Every year in the world more then three millions deaths are attributed to smoking. If human being will not stop smoking this digit will increase to 10 millions in the next 30- 40 years (Peto, R., & Lopez, A.2004).

Analyzing the research about connection between smoking and mortality it is necessary to underline that during the last 10 years level of the female mortality from smoking increased. Such changes are caused by nowadays life and stresses. There is a certain difference in the male and female starting up with smoking in the UK area. Usually females start smoking when they are stressed or cannot find out the solution from some difficult life situation. There are the common factors for starting smoking which are characterize the major pert of British male and female smokers. They are related to “material circumstances, life satisfaction and stress, relationships with parents, and low social status” (Oakley, A., & Brannen, J., & Dodd, K. 2006)

The interesting investigation was made by Dr Alan Moran in Drogheda, Ireland, where he demonstrated the reasons why teenagers stop their smoking.

Stop because the poor health – 22% of respondents;

Stop because cough – 9% of respondents;

Stop because the fact that it is illegal in the age under 17 – 2, 6 % of respondents;

Stop because medical advice – 1, 2%.

Go through these digits how the strange life is, the young people’s major cases smoking’s stops came with the evaluation of their own health.

How usually teenagers start to smoke? Here are the major common reasons:

Stress – 34%

Feeling of authority, to feel cool – 15%

Enjoyment – 10%

Addiction – 9%

Because their parents/ friends smoke – 3, 3%

These digits are mostly based on children’s own evaluation of the reasons for their starting smoking. Look, how interesting that only 9% of respondents think that they are already addicted, but almost 34% think that they are stressed (Eisner, M. D., & Forastiere, F. (2006). What is the stress motivation then?

The possible motivations for smoking in the teenager age are:

  • group pressure
  • cigarette advertising
  • imitating their parents
  • experiment necessity
  • boredom
  • the necessity of self image

From all these factors I wish to underline influence of social environment or group pressure that makes young people to start smoking. Here the professional consulting is very helpful, because in the most cases teenagers are just the victims of strong influence and pressure. However Martin Denscombe persists that according to the sociological study in the East Midland of England young people started with smoking because the willingness to have some autonomy and independence, to be strong in the eyes of others, the systems of value is totally corrupt (Cather, C., Schoenfeld, D. & Goff, DC (2001). The results of the equal investigation made in Canada shows us the effectiveness of anti-smoking school programs. Twenty two programs were explored and only 13 of them were regarded as effective for social intervention that helps students to say no to smoking at the same when 9 programs made the opposite, positive effect regarding to children’s smoking prevalence.

“There is some evidence that school programs incorporating social influence models can effect smoking behavior in the short term” (USA Teen Smoking, 2006). There is no lack in the smoking educational programs in schools or high schools. About 70% of middle schools and about 50% of high schools are occupied by the anti-smoking programs. So the USA key problem is how to make the smoking education programs more effective. Mostly we are discussing the boys’ smoking behavior, but the 30 % of teenagers’ smoking cases belong to female smoking. But the situation is different with the young girls smoking. Their behavior very often is reasoned by stress, and at the same time the factor, that other teenagers around them are smoking.

The further investigation gives us the opportunity to point out that the character of smoker haven’t changed during the last two years and will be not changed in the next ten years, because we will found very similar reasons and motivations (McNeill, A., & Raw, M., & Whybrow, P., 2006).  Journal of Applied Social Psychology claims that according the last questionnaire young people, 15 years old, who were smoking last week, as a rule have parents smoking or even the less disapproval about their own smoking from their family side. The interesting fact that when they were asked to name their best five friends, they named more smokers names, then non smokers. So the group pressure becoming more socially concerned and the definition becomes more wider then just “group influence” (Eiser, R., & Pligt, J. 2006).

One of the biggest stresses is that young smokers cannot see the dark sides in their behavior. They do not evaluate the impact of cigarettes to their life, how deep and harmful it is. I will never reject that cigarette advertising, parents’ example, the necessity of experiment, autonomy and the self image, as well as boredom and stress makes the tremendous impact on the young people’s decision to smoke or not.  Why do teenagers smoking? Age plays a great role here. Adolescents are less responsible for the nicotine effects than adults, and to become cigarette addictive is much easier in this age. There is the list of reasons, why teenagers more vulnerable in smoking.

• Teenagers do not feel the negative impact of nicotine as strong as adults..
• Special chemicals are used in modern cigarettes which are highly dangerous and make the teenagers addicted twice quicker. These chemicals are twice more harmful then nicotine itself.
• .Nicotine makes harmful changes in teenagers’ brains.
• Teens with ADHD start smoking as “medical treatment”.
To help young people to stop their bad habit and to avoid the fatal diseases the number of health improvement programs and prevention methods were designed.

Mass Media Campaigns – they provide awareness information for the great range of population. Their cooperating with local anti smoking campaigns usually is very effective. However if they carry out their role alone they cannot influence the behavior or claim for its change.

Smoking in Public Places is forbidden – there is a strong public health base behind this prevention activity. Stopping smoking in the public places will create the healthy environment and atmosphere that will develop the new society life style – without smoking. We need to enlarge the amount of those who will participate in this cessation and attract the others.

Community based initiatives – the difficulties with community based methods are the problems with findings, then usually it is the difficulties with the correct set up of the community based project, but afterwards when it is working, it influences the large amount of community members and can be addressed not to the smokers only. Health promotional school programs, under age purchase of cigarettes, community based initiatives – all these social caring activities can be adapted and used for promotion of non smoking way of life.

According to the last scientists’ researches we can demand that smoking is not only national or international problem, it is the problem of human being life in general, because even if we know what kind of life style diseases we are risking to get when we smoke, we do not realize that our future generation is also in danger, because the genes and the major changes in brains are involved with smoking. I think it’s a moment for us to stop and think (Lippincott, W., & Wilkins W., 2005).





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