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Tobacco Use Among Adolescent Population

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Cigarette smoking is still the number one preventable cause of death in the U.S. but is still one of the leading causes of death each year (Audrain-McGovern et al., 2006). What’s more concerning is that now the youth is susceptible to this mortality rate. There is an alarming trend of adolescent nicotine addiction. The advancement of technology also makes adolescents more susceptible to various smoking influences. Statistics research tells us adolescent smoking progression has increased. Understanding more about the ways of youth nicotine consumption can help show how great the risks. Examining possible reasons and conclusions as to what has directly and indirectly impacted adolescent smoking can help determine its progression. 

Progression of Adolescent Cigarette Smoking 

The cause of adolescent smoking is complex and likely results from the interplay of environmental and individual characteristics (Audrain-McGovern et al., 2006). For example, peer pressure by other teens who smoke has been shown to greatly influence adolescent cigarette smoking, including the initiation of it. Besides, to experimentation and progression to greater levels of smoking. Youth cigarette smoking has been linked to many variables and factors. Some of these linked variables for adolescent cigarette smoking are fathers or parents that smoke, depression, peer pressure or psychosocial influences, to name a few. It is possible that individual characteristics play a direct role in adolescent smoking and psychosocial influence can play a role indirectly. 

In recent years technology has abounded and with that comes newer, more advanced, and exciting ways of doing things. For example, we now have vaping that has become a youth epidemic. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “vaping has affected over a thousand people in the US, becoming a public health crisis” (CDC, 2018). Nearly all patients have been hospitalized the youngest being 13 years old and starting as early as 12 years old, receiving treatments including medically induced coma, breathing machines, and other life support measures (Mull, 2019). Research shows teens are seven times more likely to vape than adults. 

Progression of Adolescent Vape Use 

Vaping was new to the scene, created excitement as it appeared kid-friendly with chocolate, strawberry, cotton candy, and other various flavored vape liquids. Also, an appealing attribute is some vaping devices are customizable. Outside of teens potentially already addicted to nicotine, these are attractive features. Also, the flavored vaping liquids cover the harsh taste of nicotine, thus making it more cumbersome to resist or stop. To add, Vaping was sort of initially advertised differently in that smoking requires a combustion reaction, and vaping does not. With this, many teens and people, in general, believed the chemical process of vaping was safer than smoking. Now teenage vaping statistics show a concerning trend and predisposes adolescents to future addictive behavior patterns. The CDC has raised concern for the no decline in overall youth Tobacco use since 2011 and e-cigarettes being the most commonly used amongst adolescents. A big contributing factor to this issue is that there are large numbers of middle and high school students are current users of e-cigarettes. According to the CDC, during 2011-2015, the use of e-cigarettes by middle and high school students skyrocketed. From 1.5% to 16% among high school students, and 0.6% to 5.3% among middle school students (CDC, 2018). To add, according to the CDC, high school students use other tobacco products such as: 

  • 8.6 % smoked cigars
  • 7.2% used hookahs
  • 6.0% used smokeless tobacco and smoked pipe tobacco
  • 0.6% smoked bidis. 

The percent increase within the numbers presented poses questions to the ease of regulation with tobacco use. The Food Drug and Administration (FDA) also raises concerns about the progression of tobacco use with the youth. According to the FDA, “regulation with manufacturing, distribution, and marketing of tobacco products along with population-based strategies is a way to reduce youth tobacco use and initiation”. But is it already too late?! To achieve this goal such strategies would need implementation, such as funding tobacco control programs, and increasing pricing with tobacco and vaping products, in addition, to smoke-free laws, for instance. Such strategies not being implemented early on is a big contributing factor to this youth crisis. 

Data Sources for This Information 

TOBACCO FREECA 

TOBACCO FREECA is a health advisory resource that helps inform the public about health risks and provides recommendations regarding tobacco use, vaping electronics, etc. Information about the governor signing the vaping epidemic executive order is also displayed. This is a result due to the increase of mysterious lung illnesses and deaths that are on the rise as a result of this youth epidemic. The goal of primary prevention is to avoid substances that cause illness altogether, generally preventing disease development (Fleming, 2014). Therefore, some health education and recommendations about lung illnesses are shared. For example, signs and symptoms of possible individuals with respiratory illnesses, individuals that may be hospitalized as a result of illness, and why, signs and symptoms, talking points, and steps are provided as a guide for parents on what topics to discuss with their children that are exposed to or currently smoking.

Flavors Hooks Kids 

This data resource is currently sharing information about the youth vaping epidemic. Also, how vaping liquid flavors is what triggers the “hooking” to the use of e-cigarettes. According to this data source, “four out of five kids who vape nicotine uses flavors” (California Tobacco Control Program – English, 2017). Parents are encouraged to talk to their kids and young adults about the effects in an attempt to help minimize this current epidemic. Another great concern this data source mentions as to a potential cause of this progression is that newer model vaping devices can have up to 6 times the nicotine concentration of first-generation e-cigarettes. Putting the youth at greater risk of not only nicotine addiction but various other substance addictions.

Conclusion 

By examining and analyzing youth psycho-social behaviors and their current social environment can paint a picture as to why youth tobacco use has not declined over the last five years. Prior data presented show direct and indirect implications and conclusions to possible reasoning for the progression of this youth epidemic. The increased use of e-cigarettes by teens is a result of various vaping products, devices, lack of tobacco regulation control, and systems in place are just larger-scale contributing factors to this youth crisis. 

Nicotine is a highly addictive, harmful drug for adults, but can have more detrimental effects on the youth. This is a complex matter comprehensively and in part due to the greed of the economic system. Therefore, to decrease and combat this crisis in its current state, leading health officials, tobacco industries and interconnected parties would have to agree to crack down, enforce and change policies and regulations that enforce legal accountability. 

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Tobacco Use Among Adolescent Population. [online]. Available at: <https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/tobacco-use-among-adolescent-population/> [Accessed 1 Dec. 2021].
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