Tobacco is one of the mostly used drugs in the world today. The use of tobacco has raised many issues with many people arguing that the drug is a threat to the health of million of people in the world today. The people who are a threat to the drug are the smokers themselves and those who do not smoke but are subjected to secondary smoke. Tobacco is believed to be the cause of many health complications key among them being the deadly lung cancer, heart problems and a contingent of other cancers like the mouth and throat cancer. Apart from that tobacco usage has been the cause of many reproduction problems which may result in miscarriages or disabled or malfunctioning children (Perry, 1996).
An interesting fact about tobacco abuse and addiction is that the smokers and tobacco users are aware of the dangers that are involved in the habit of smoking. Despite this, many people are continuing to start smoking while fully aware of the addiction that is involved in the usage of the tobacco products. Many organizations have taken the task of educating the people against the usage of tobacco products but this have been frustrated by the tobacco companies who have taken the task of producing more addictive products and expensive advertising. This has led to an increased usage of tobacco products and this have continued to threaten the health of both smokers and non-smokers (Fiore, 2000).
The tobacco abuse and addiction is one of the leading causes of death all over the world and the most affected being the developed countries. This is because it is attributed to many life threatening diseases chief among them being a contingent of cancers which include lung cancer, throat cancer, cancer of the mouth, esophagus cancer, pancreas cancer, liver cancer, blood cancer (leukemia), cervix cancer and other forms of cancers. It is also strongly linked to cardiovascular conditions which have claimed a lot of lives in both the developed and developing countries. Tobacco abuse and addiction has also been linked to the child birth abnormalities that have been witnessed to increase around the world. This is because they have affected the children who are still in their mothers' wombs and when these children are born, they are either suffering from down syndrome, low birth weight, mentally retarded or malfunctioning babies (Horn, 1999).
A substantial percentage of the world population is composed of smokers and this number of smokers is increasing by the day. This is despite the fact they are aware of the dangers that are involved in the consumption of tobacco products. At this rate, the number of people who are going to suffer from tobacco related illnesses and diseases is going to increase. There are various organizations that are devoted in educating the people about the dangers of smoking but this have not been responded to in their intended manner. This is because many people are still smoking irregardless of the dangers that they are exposing themselves to and how these dangers affect them, their families and their friends. They also continue to engage in this harmful habit knowing very well that it is very addictive and that when one is addicted it becomes very hard to quit the habit. This have led to a rise in the number of tobacco related illnesses victims and this is very worrying because many people especially children and teenagers are experimenting with the drug and getting hooked to the drug in amazing rates (Lamkin, 1998).
Another disturbing fact is that tobacco companies are aware of the dangers of smoking and are still spending millions of dollars in advertising for their wares. It is important to note that the companies need to survival but it should be their social corporate responsibility to educate their customers on the dangers that are involved in that habit using tobacco products. Despite the fact that there are legislations put in many countries as to the responsibilities that a tobacco company must exercise, these legislations are never followed and thus the tobacco companies are continuing to make billions of dollars when the people are dying out of their products. The governments in many countries are in a dilemma because the products are killing their citizens while the companies are the major revenue sources in terms of employment and taxes (Moss, 1992).
Teenagers and young adult’s abuse and addiction to tobacco
The number of the young adults and teenagers who are smoking is increasing by the day and this is worrying because they are doing so full aware of the dangers that are involved in using tobacco products. Teenagers especially high school age teenagers are smoking and some of them have already become addicted to the drugs. This shows that in the future, there will be a lot of problems with the medical condition of many people who will succumb to the illnesses and diseases that are brought about by tobacco products. Many industries in an economy thrive to target the young people and mainly the teenagers and the young adults. 'This is because in any population, these are the majority of people in a country. One of the industry that is doing very well towards that end is the tobacco industry. It has targeted the youths and this have been manifested in the many young people and young adults who are indulging in the abuse of tobacco products (Horn, 1999).
It is important to look as to why there is an increasing number of teenagers who are indulging in tobacco abuse and the eventually succumbing to tobacco addiction. One of the leading causes of this trend is peer pressure. Many youths who are smoking have played a very large role in introducing tobacco to their friends. This is a very worrying trend because many teenagers and young adults are being introduced to the habit by their peers who are already addicted. This will require the youths to be very strong willed in order to avoid the habit. But the temptation is very high and hence many youths are succumbing to this behavior which is very risky for their lives. Apart from that, many youths have also started smoking because they feel that they are at the right for starting such behavior. Their friends are supporting them in using the products and hence the eventual succumbing to the products addiction. Many people using the tobacco products started using the products before they were twenty years of age. This shows that the backbone of the problem lies with the teenagers (Lamkin, 1998).
Another cause of the rising numbers of people who are using the tobacco products is the advertising that is being done by the tobacco companies. This indicates that the billions of shilling the industry is using in advertising are not for nothing because their commercials are playing a very important role in introducing the teenagers and young people to the alcohol products abuse. These advertisements have the tendency of appealing to that age group by using sexy models who the youths think that they would like to imitate. Thus the continued use of tobacco products by the teenagers and young adults. Apart from that, the advertisements have also succeeded in convincing the age group that one of the most fashionable things for the age group is to be smoking. They have achieved this in many forms of advertisements which have appealed to the young people. The most disturbing factor is that they companies do not include the dangers of their products in their commercials. All they do is put in very shallow statements which go to the effect that it is harmful for your health while in the real sense the message of encouraging the use of the products by far overshadow the health implication message (Fiore, 2000).
Another cause of the increased teenage use of these products is the teenagers and young adults growing into homes in which the habit is a norm. It is important to note that most of the users of tobacco products are people whose parents or close relations had been using the products when the children are growing up. This implies that the parents have a responsibility in ensuring that their children grow in an environment that does not encourage the use of the products. This has brought a lot of difficulties to the agencies that are dealing with the problems of tobacco use among the teenagers and the young adults. This group of the population mainly pick their habits from the parents and close relations. The government is also at task because it should introduce policies which are directed towards this end. It is the high time the society acknowledged that this is a major problem which is threatening the future of the world (Horn, 1999).
Many of the teenagers and young adults also start the use of the tobacco products so that they can fit into a certain class. This means that many young people are abusing the products because the social status demands them to do. This does not necessary imply that they could not fit in the group if they did not use the products. Many groups of young people have adopted the habit because they feel as if they are adults and can do whatever they want. This attitude has caused so much problems with the use of these products because when they are indulging in the habit, they completely disregard the dangers that are related to this habit. This is why many young people are smoking. When they were growing up, the young people thought that smoking of cigarettes and cigars was a habit that was strictly for the adults. In their endeavor to be recognized as adults, they start smoking at a very young age. It can only be stopped if the society changes its attitude and show the young people that smoking does not make one look as cool as they think (Perry, 1996).
The parents are also to blame because they fail to educate their children about the dangers of using not only tobacco related drugs but other drugs as well. The parents should take the responsibility of educating their children about the dangers that lurk in the habit of using these products. This means that the parents should forbid the use of these drugs by showing their children the negative effects this habit has. This also goes on to show that many of the teenagers who are engaged in this habit would have not started were it not for their parent’s laxity in educating them. Many of the parents may go ahead and blame such things as media, tobacco companies marketing, peer pressure and other causes but the main problem is their laxity in dealing with this issue since the childhood of their children (Lamkin, 1998).
The media is also to blame for the current states of affairs. The media has played a very important role in advertising the usage of the tobacco products. This is because the media influences the lives of many people and the young adults and teenagers are not left out in this. The media has for been showing the usage of these products as a cool behavior and most of the heroes in the movies are portrayed as people who use this products. The media has played a major role from the fact that they also encourage the tobacco companies to use their services in reaching to the people. This has brought a culture in which many people who view the celebrities and television models as their role models start to emulate their lifestyles including the use of tobacco products. Most of these people are the teenagers and the young adults who feel that to emulate their heroes they should involve themselves with their habits like smoking of cigarettes and cigars (Horn, 1999).
Educating the teenagers and young people about tobacco abuse
It is a common saying that charity begins at home. The most important people in educating this group of citizens are the parents, guardians and their relatives. This means that the parents should endeavor to educate the young people not when they come up to age, but since they are in their childhood. The study have noted that many people who smoke were not educated in the dangers of using tobacco products and hence the rising cases. The parents have adapted a carefree attitude towards the behaviors of their children and this have brought the situation to its current sad state of affair. The parents should educate their children on the dangers involved in the usage of tobacco products (Perry, 1996).
Teachers and the people who have occupations that deal with these group of citizens should also take the task of informing and educating the teenagers and young adults about the dangers of using tobacco products. The teachers and guardians should start educating these people from their childhood so that they grow up knowing that it is very dangerous to be addicted to tobacco products. They can play a very important part in solving this problem and they should tell the children the various ailments that are related to this habit of smoking (Fiore, 2000).
The media should also join in the battle and this should enhance in the media taking time to educate their audiences on the dangers of using tobacco products. The study have shown how the media influences many people and they can use this positively by educating the children, teenagers and young adults about the dangers of using tobacco products. They can also put into effect the number of people who are loosing their lives due to this habit and how this habit can be avoided. This will surely help in solving the problem that is currently very worrying to many countries both in the developing and developed countries (Moss, 1992).
The government should also come up with policies that support the education of young people from using various drugs. This can be done by the government introducing special classes from primary stages of education to secondary and tertiary levels of education. This would enhance the solving of the problem that is causing a lot of worries in the world today. Most importantly, the government should focus on the tobacco products companies and put policies in place that requires the companies to educate the young people about the dangers of using their products. The state of affairs now is that the companies are only advertising more while educating very little. The government should put this as a requirement for their social corporate responsibility (Horn, 1999).
The companies are also responsible for educating the young people about the dangers of using the products. As it is now, the companies in trying to fulfill their legal obligations mildly state that the use of these products is harmful to your health. However, this messages are often overshadowed by the colorful decorations of the packages and so does not attract many people. The government should ensure that the companies fulfill their legal obligations of educating the young people against using the products. However, this will prove tough as the companies are there to increase their sales but in doing so should not endanger the lives of their clients (Lamkin, 1998).
Fiore, M. C., Bailey, W. C., Cohen, S. J., et al. (2000). Treating tobacco use and dependence. Clinical Practice Guideline. Rockville, MD: US Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service.
Horn, K., Dino, G., Gao, X., & Momani, A. (1999). Feasibility evaluation of Not On Tobacco: The American Lung Association's new stop smoking program for adolescents. Health Education, 5, 192-206.
Lamkin, L, Davis, B., & Kamen, A. (1998). Rationale for tobacco cessation interventions for youth. Preventive Medicine, 27, 5, A3-A8.
Moss, J. A., Allen, K. F., Giovino, G. A., & Mills, S. L. (1992). Recent trends in adolescent smoking, smoking-uptake correlates, and expectations about the future. Advance Data, 221, 1-28
Perry, C. L. & Staufacker, M. J. (1996). Tobacco use. In R. J. DiClemente, W. B. Hansen, & L.E. Ponton, (Eds.), Handbook of adolescent health risk behavior (pp. 53-81). New York: Plenum Press.