Cigarette smoking has been ranked as a leading cause of death in America accounting for one in every five instances of death. Approximately 440 000 people die annually in the United States as a result of tobacco related illnesses. The fatalities resulting from cigarette smoking are said to be more than those that come about as a result of a combination of suicide, homicide, car accidents, illicit drugs, alcohol and AIDS. Of all deaths cause by cancer, lung cancer, a major consequence of cigarette use, is reported to top the list. In the year 2010, it was reported that 45.3 million American adults were active smokers and this figure represented 19.3 per cent of the total number of adults in America. Other shocking reports of studies carried out in 2009 revealed that 20 per cent and 5 per cent of high school and middle school students respectively smoked tobacco. As a result of cigarette smoking, the nation incurs an estimated 100 billion dollars each year which is channeled towards medical expenses and yet another 200 billion is lost as a result of lost productivity. Some of the illnesses associated with the smoking of cigarettes include; stroke, high blood pressure, heart disease, lung cancer, bronchitis and pneumonia among others. Recently, interviews were conducted among sample of ten college students to establish their views on cigarette smoking. There was a general suggestion that people in teenage hood and young adult stages are highly susceptible to indulge in smoking because of social-environmental influences. Even though many respondents believed that cigarette smoking causes cancer, a few of them were of a different stand point. Cigarette smoking leads to negative implications in terms of health and lifestyle.
The smoking of cigarettes remains an issue of concern to the public. The consequences are not only suffered by the primary smoker, but the secondary smoker as well. According to Casarez, people will indulge in smoking if they come from backgrounds in which their care givers smoked. She says, “People with parents who smoke are more likely to begin smoking than those who have none smoking parents.” This view point suggests that the environment in which a child grows is crucial in shaping his or her behavior in future. They will imitate the behaviors displayed by the models in their lives and therefore if parents smoke and the children observe this, they are likely to imitate this behavior and become smokers themselves.
Smoking, albeit is an issue of contention, is said to have some health benefits such as lowering one’s risk of suffering Parkinson’s disease and lowering the risk of becoming obese. This notion is supported by one student, Elaina Lee. She believes that people begin to smoke as a result of different reasons contrary to what Casarez stated that it was as a result of parental influence alone. Lee asserts that, people indulge in smoking,”When they are stressed, to look cool (blend in with friends) or for medical use.”
Whatever the reason or justification granted for the indulgence in cigarette smoking, be it health inclined or social inclined, there are risks that accompany the behavior such as the acquisition of smoking related illnesses and addiction. Ruth Mata avers that people who start smoking when they are young are likely to become addicted to nicotine when compared to the ones who begin smoking during their later years. With regards to the risks tied to smoking, she states that, “…smokers usually become addicted dependent on nicotine and suffer both physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms when they stop smoking.”
These sentiments were echoed by Fayette Arnold who asserts that people indulge in smoking because of influence from their friends and parents. He similarly proclaims that those who start smoking when they are young are more likely to become addicted to cigarettes when compared to those who begin late. He further proclaims that just as other drugs are highly addictive, so are cigarettes. He says, “…the nicotine in cigarette smoking causes addiction too smoking, nicotine is an addictive drug just like heroine.”
Nicotine, one of the chemical components found in cigarettes is known for its highly addictive nature. Due to this very nature, cigarette smoking consequently becomes habitual and ultimately becomes an addiction. Jessica Mondragon is of the opinion that smokers in their teen years or early adulthood are more susceptible to cigarette addiction when compared to older smokers. In fact, she believes that addiction varies from one smoker to the next. She states that, “Depending on the individual, cigarette may be addicting, there are people who can quite in a matter of hours while others may quite in a number of days.”
There are many diseases and conditions which are known to result from smoking cigarettes. Maryam Alcharchafch is keen to note that lung cancer is just but one of the many diseases that are a result of cigarette smoking. She states that, “…it does cause cancer and other diseases too.” Even though she believes that parental and peer influence are the main reasons why people resort to smoking, she notes that addiction is dependent on individuals and how many cigarettes they consume on a daily basis.
Altough Tiine did not know whether or not cigarette smoking leads to lung cancer, he had an idea of the role nicotine plays in terms of physiology. According to him, “Nicotine acts directly on the heart to change heart rate and blood presuure.”
Unlike all the other interviewees who knew had an idea of what the effects of nicotine are, Alfredo Rosus had no clue as to what the nicotine in cigarettes does. He answered, “I don’t know, I’m not a cigarette user.”
Unlike Rosus, Eduardo Prieto was knowledgeable of the fact that nicotine is the component responsible for causing addiction to cigarettes. He said, “Makes people more addicted.”
When asked if cigarette smoking causes lung cancer, Rami Alrawash answered, “I am not sure.” This goes to show that there are still many people out there who are ignorant of the health consequences of cigarette smoking.
Cigarette smoking continues to be an issue of concern to the public because of the consequences it leads to. The results obtained from a recent study conducted among ten college students to determine the issues surrounding cigarette smoking, it was discovered that cigarette smoking indeed has hazardous implications. A majority of the interviewees agreed that people indulge in smoking either because of the influence they receive from their parents or friends. In addition to that, many respondents believed that smoking also causes lung cancer among other numerous illnesses. Further, there was a general assertion that cigarettes are highly addictive in nature due to the substance nicotine. It is imperative that anti-smoking campaigns be continued and intensified because to date, some people are still ignorant of the dangers that lurk as a result of cigarette smoking indulgence.