Jun 11, 2019 in Health

Smoking Prevention

Introduction

Tobacco smoking is a social tragedy. In the United States, so many people smoke that approximately 1200 individuals die in a day, because of smoking directly related diseases. Smoking is most dominant among young adults and youths. This does not mean that adults from 25 years onward do not smoke, not at all. Smoking affects people from all age groups. The most tragic truth is that most smokers start smoking by 26 years (US Department of Health &Human Services, 2015). That means that a very low percentage of people start the habit in adulthood. Smoking is not only responsible for huge consumption, but also a major source of chronic diseases. Therefore, smoking leads to human loss, and economic complications for individuals, because of expenses and health costs. It is difficult to launch effective prevention campaigns, because of several reasons. First, smoking leads to nicotine addiction, which makes it difficult for a smoker to quit and increase the cases of relapse. Secondly, the extensive tobacco marketing strategies lures the unsuspecting youths into smoking and even adults into trying new brands. Lastly, smoking is everywhere in the society. Thus, it becomes inevitable that youths who are susceptible to social influence and peer pressure will end up smoking. This problem solution essay will look at the smoking problem in the United States, and propose a possible multi-dimensional solution of mitigating the extent of the effects of smoking.

The problem

Before proposing a solution to this complex and tragic problem, it is important to understand the content of the problem. Smoking affects both genders, all races as well as age groups. However, the extent of smoking in different categories differs. For example, smoking is popular among youths than among the aging from 60 years forward. Similarly, Black-American women start smoking later than other races (Dougherty, 2003). Most of the smokers begin during middle school days or high school. Nevertheless, some start the habit late in life after completing studies or while in college. The knowledge of the most affected group helps in making the right target for every prevention campaign. Smoking prevention strategies ought to be segmented so achieve high results. To segment, each segment information is crucial for proper strategizing.

First, smoking initiation takes place, in most cases, during teenage and young adulthood. Young people like identifying with peer groups, thus falling into group behavior is unavoidable. If the prominent young people in the society have a certain habit, the follows of this leader are most likely going to adopt the same behavior (Dougherty, 2003). As a result of this trend, many young people begin smoking, as a way of identifying with a celebrity or a sense of belonging to a social or peer group. Apart from developing an identity, young people are susceptible to peer pressure and influence. For example, if a boy has five classmates who smoke, they will challenge the boy to do the same if he is not a coward. In an attempt to prove his courage, the boy will take the first puff. After that, he will continue smoking to avoid mockery from the friends (Roberts, 2015). Young people comply with peer behavior, even if they do not like or agree with them, to avoid being odd. In an attempt to fit in a society where smoking is a norm, young people end up initiating smoking even before they are twenty-five years.

Smoking is a complex problem, because of the nicotine addictions issue. Some people start smoking to cure their curiosity, with the intention of quitting after a short while, maybe months or a few years. Regretfully, they come to realize they cannot stop smoking, and they are already into adulthood. Others start smoking as an occasional habit, maybe to practice during celebrations. After a while, they become regular smokers unconsciously (Dougherty, 2003). By the time these two categories of people come to learn the reality, they are in a deep shock. They have spent years of daily smoking and to make matters worse; they cannot just stop. The addictive aspect of nicotine lures occasional smokers to regular smoking, as, without smoking, they feel they lack in smoothing. Similarly, those who start smoking expecting to quit after a short while, find it difficult to quit at their planned time, because they have become dependent on nicotine. Worse still, after years of smoking and acute addiction, some people succeed to quit smoking with great struggle and unending therapies. However, this does not end here. This category of individuals is venerable to falling back to smoking at the slightest provocation. After quitting smoking, individuals spend most of their time and energy fighting the urge to smoke again, which rarely succeeds. The effect of nicotine is so strong so that to overcome it requires extensive treatment and therapies (US Department of Health &Human Services, 2015). This is not to mean there is no hope for smokers to quit successfully the habit. It is possible to quit successfully smoking, but it requires a lot of sacrifice, finances, time, dedication and support. Therefore, it is better to prevent initiation to smoking, rather than to deal with quitting.  

Lastly, the complexity of smoking worsens with the marketing efforts of tobacco manufacturers. Marketing is one way that influences consumer behavior considerably. The huge budgets assigned to marketing strategies by the tobacco manufacturers see to it that most people get to know about tobacco and possibly try it (Roberts, 2015). The counter campaigns by anti-smoking agencies are not as effective and dedicated as the manufacturers. The effect of tobacco marketing is not limited to an age group; it cuts across all ages and targets the whole market.

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Individual solutions

With the knowledge of the factors making smoking problem complex, it is possible to propose a solution now. As it is evident, smoking is a multi-dimensional problem, it also requires a multi-dimensional solution. Taking a single approach in the smoking prevention strategy, would result in no or negligible results. First of all, it is inevitable to propose a solution to each factor, and then unite the proposals into a multi-dimension solution.

First, it is important to launch strategies, which will reduce youths’ initiation to smoking. The factors that create an enabling environment for youth initiation to smoking should be countered or eliminated. For example, launching educative programs on the media to enlighten youths on the harmful facts of smoking, can increase tobacco effects knowledge level (US Department of Health &Human Services, 2015). Young people interact expansively with social media and other forms of media. Educational programs on these platforms would reach a lot of young people, and they would be free to air their concerns in such platforms. For example, state governments can launch state social media educational programs, which would aim at educating young people about the importance of not trying smoking in the first place. The anonymity of social media allows confidential communication where someone will ask sensational questions without fear of identification. Also, holding such programs on television and radio stations can do a great deal to help. These educational programs will not only target the youths but the whole society. Young people admire to smoke after seeing others do so (Dougherty, 2003). Therefore, educating the whole society will reduce the youths’ exposure to smoking. School programs that educate on drug and substance abuse are also helpful in dealing with the desire to start smoking. Such programs are good when the target group is school going youths. However, this strategy is limited to school going individuals, thus leaving out those who develop the urge while in young adulthood. An important point is that every strategy should be a long-term endeavor. It is impossible to achieve anything with a few days campaign against such a rooted social problem. To change the way people see things will take time.

Secondly, it is essential to come up with quitting programs that will address the nicotine addiction problem. Most smokers desire to quit the habit, but the effect of nicotine makes the process a dreadful experience. Increase rehabilitation centers focus on recovery from nicotine addiction is a good way to start. Once a person is used to smoking, they cannot survive a day without it. It is impossible to overcome this addiction overnight and as a stand-alone man. In overcoming nicotine addition, smokers will require professor help, which would be easily administered in rehabilitation centers than on individual basis (Roberts, 2015). Therefore, states governments and nonprofit organizations should come up with rehabilitation facilities, equipment, and personnel to aid smokers overcome nicotine addiction. Moreover, people recovery from addiction would require support groups, where they can share their experience and overcome the problem as a group rather than an individual. To form such groups, health personnel helping them can group them, or facilitate the formation of such groups even across several facilities. The people can meet for recreation activities, communicate and keep in touch with each other to ensure they go through the challenges with united strength. If family and friends are not supportive and sensitive to the nicotine addiction, the smoker is likely to relapse. Therefore, to overcome the nicotine addiction of smoking is not a personal endeavor; rather it requires everybody in the society.  

Thirdly, there should be campaigns, rigorous and effective enough to counter the effect of tobacco marketing. The tobacco marketing strategies make tobacco products very popular in the whole society. Campaigns aiming at countering this effect need to be strong, persuasive and resilient. Such campaign requires huge budgets and proficient personnel (Roberts, 2015). Therefore, they are unaffordable to small groups. Nonetheless, unity is a strength. Combined efforts of different anti-smoking agencies can yield considerably in this fight. 

Multi-dimensional solution

After these proposals, it is possible to develop a multi-dimensional solution for smoking. This solution will incorporate the three proposals, and maybe even others that are not discussed above. Incorporating educational programs in the media and schools to educate people, about the effects of smoking is a good way to start the fight. The media reaches a large audience, and it targets both adults and youths. Therefore, its message will reach a large audience. School programs are effective for pupils and students, who spend most of their time in the school environment. Therefore, their encounter with anti-smoking strategies in the school environment will be dominant over other exposures. Dougherty quotes Dr. Covey that quitting smoking is not a solution because relapse greatly affects former smokers (Dougherty, 2003). Therefore, to have extensive nicotine recovery programs is the second step in smoking prevention. Smokers need to quit smoking effectively. To do so they need to overcome the nicotine addiction. Therapies and nicotine replacement serve well to reduce the desire for nicotine. To serve more people quitting smoking, these services ought to be centralized for easy access and professionalism. Smokers will find it easy to seek help from rehabilitation facilities, where they will meet others like them, rather than going to hospitals for the same. Also, former smokers support groups are essential. In this attempt to overcome nicotine addiction, family and friends ought to be educated as well. Therefore, the rehabilitation centers will also avail information for people living with former smokers. Such information will ensure support both at home and from friends for the smokers to overcome quickly. Laws that regulate smoking have proven to be effective. As Dougherty, 2003 says, “Perhaps adults who missed or were not affected by prevention programs will use new anti-smoking laws as extra motivation to quit (Dougherty, 2003).” Legal regulations govern the extent of tobacco marketing as well as ignite smokers to seek quitting help (Dougherty, 2003). Legislators should come up with strict smoking regulation laws, which will act as a seal on the smoking prevention strategies. Implementing these proposals, would be implementing a multi-dimensional solution to smoking.

Counterargument

Some may hold the opinion that the proposed multi-dimension solution will require a very huge budget, thus almost impossible to implement. Others hold the opinion that so far there have been several attempts to prevent smoking and they have shown little progress, thus even the proposed solution is no different.

Refutation

The counterarguments against the proposed solution in this essay do not take into account that in the past, the American government put effort to implement single dimension solutions, which yielded considerably but the lack of consistent made spoilt it all. That is why the solution insists on time and consistence to ensure that the past failures do not recur. Moreover, the past single dimension solutions mostly aimed at youth smokers, overlooking the adults who are also affected. Therefore, a solution that will at get all groups is likely to yield more than others.

Conclusion

In conclusion, smoking is a chronic problem in America. Many diseases and deaths are attributable to it. To fight smoking requires big budgets, time, and commitment of all. To implement the multi-dimensional proposal above would require a lot of time. To successful implement smoking prevention strategies, time is a key factor. Those programs and efforts ought to be persistent for at least five years. A shorter duration than five years would have little or no impact at all. To expect fruits from the smoking prevention strategy, governments, individuals and organizations should give their commitment to work together for five to ten years. The implementation of the multi-dimensional solution can be phasial or concurrent. That is; it can be implemented phase by phase or at the same time as a wholesome. Either way it would require a lot of time. Phased by phase implementation would require a lot of time while concurrent implementation would take a little bit less time but a higher budget. Either way, smoking prevention strategies are time and resource consuming, but they are worth the cost. If implementing the solution for around six years would cut down the number of smokers, then, the endeavor would be worthy. The proposed multi-dimensional solution cannot eliminate the smoking problem in America, but it can reduce the number of those suffering from smoking.

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