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Teenagers Smoking Essay, Research Paper

Teenagers Smoking


Smoking is a very important issue in the world and among teenagers. There is research that shows that immigrants to the US smoke even more than US citizens (Public Health Service, 1991). Since we at Galileo are all teenagers and mostly immigrants, we would like to do research on smoking in China, the U.S and among immigrants. We did a lot of research in books, magazines and the Internet, and then made a survey to see if smoking at Galileo H.S (a high school in SF) matches what the other research says.

Smoking in China

China is the most populous country in the world, with 1.2 billion citizens. Smoking is very common in China; over 350 million people are smoking. People can smoke everywhere: in school, theaters, department stores, museums and stadiums, and on public transportation and all domestic flights. In China, the numbers of cigarettes smoked daily has increased from 11 percent to 16 percent for men and from 9 percent to 10 percent for women since 1984 (Hammond, Ross 1988). The teen smokers in China are less than the teen smokers in U.S. In 1997 smoking in China was very high, but the death rate was low, because the Chinese people hadn t started smoked long enough yet. ShangHai province is where the most people smoke. Results from the 1996 China National Prevalence Study document that both men and women now initiate smoking 3 years earlier compared with data from 1984 with men starting at an average age of 20 years and women at 25 years (Hammond, Ross 1997)

China is the biggest selling market for cigarettes. For example, one in three cigarettes smoked in the world today are smoked in China, and the Chinese consume were four times as many cigarettes as the next largest consumer, the United States of America. From 1985 to 1992, cigarette consumption per adult dropped by 13% in highly developed countries, but at the same time increased by 20% in China. For every one less cigarette smoked in more developed countries, three more cigarettes were smoked in China (Health Communications and Public Relations, 1997). From a 1996 national survey, 63% of Chinese men smoked, and only 4% of Chinese women smoked (Hammond, Ross 1998). This compares to 61% of male and 7% of female smokers in 1984, the men smokers have increased and women smokers have decreased. In 1984, men smoked on average 13 cigarettes a day. By 1996, this figure increased to 15 cigarettes a day (Karlsson, Ciara, 1997).

Smoking in US: Adults

There are many smokers in the US, a lot of them die from different diseases related to smoking every year. The percentages are different for different kinds of smokers. In 1995, there are more than 1.851 million American daily smokers, of which an estimated 1.226 million (66.2%) are under the age of 18 years old, and 15 percent of current smokers were between 25 and 34 years of age (Health Communications and Public Relations, 1997). In this century, the current smokers rate was 38.9 percent, the former smokers rate was 11.1 percent, the never smoked rate was 50 percent, and the quit ratio for the smokers was 22.2 percent (CDC, 1998). The ratio of men to women smokers is very close: 42.5 percent of men smoke, compared to 36.8 percent of women (CDC, 1998).

The smoking rate is highest among those with less than a high school education adult. The smokers can lose their jobs, because smoking has make them unhealthy; millions of working days are lost each year because of the caused by smoking-related disease.

Smoking in US: Teenagers

The smoking rate is very high in the US, and the teen smoker s problems are a very important part. For example, over 3,000 people under the age of 18 years become daily smokers every day and more than 6,000 people under the age of 18 years old try their first cigarette each day (Tobacco information and prevention source, 1998-99). Sixty percent of smokers started smoking when they were around 13 years old and at least 4.5 million teenagers between 12-17 in the U.S smoke cigarettes (Tobacco information and prevention source, 1998-99). In the U.S 16.6 million of today s teenagers will become regular smokers and about 5 million die.

Many students are smokers. In Florida, 27.4 percent to 25.2 percent of high school students smoke. For female students, the smoking rate is from 25.9 percent to 38.3 percent, and male students from 24.6 percent to 26.5 percent.

In Florida, the number of high school students who start smoking has increased from 25.2% to 27.4% (Tobacco information and prevention source, 1998-99).

Teenagers between 16 to 18 years old are heavier smokers than teenagers between 14 and 16. In the 1998 version of an annual national survey called Monitoring the Future, 35.1% of 12th graders smoked for all of the past 30 days, compared to 27.6% of 10th graders and 19.1% of 8th graders (PIRG, 1999). According to FDA Commissioner David Kessler, in a speech on March 8, 1995, 29.9% of seniors in 1993 smoked at least once within the past 30 days were and 19% smoke daily (CDC, 1999). In U.S, less education, smoking prevalence was highest, but high school graduated, the smoke the highest average number of cigarettes (Public Health Service, 1991).

Smoking in US: Immigrants

There are many teenage immigrant smokers in the U.S, such as Chinese, Filipino, Cambodian, Vietnamese, Latino, white, etc. In California, about 200 teenagers become regular smokers each day. Asian teenagers smoking rate from 1993 to 1996 increased over 50% in CA (Lew R, Chen A, 1996). In the Asian and Pacific Islander Youth Survey, about 25% smoked tobacco in the last month. Tobacco use among recent Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) immigrant men is much higher than in second and third generation AAPIs (Public Health Service, 1991). Smoking prevalence is highest for the following ethnic groups: Laotian (72% of males smoke), Cambodian (71%), Vietnamese (65%), (Public Health Service, 1991).

Survey Methods:

We decided to do a survey of Galileo H.S students to study smoking rates in our teenage and immigrant group. In our survey, we have 13 questions, based on the 1993 San Francisco Unified School District Survey. (SFUSD, 1993). We asked teachers, advisors, and friends to pass out the survey for us. We passed out about 250 surveys and got 205 back.

Survey results:

The respondents all are Galileo high school students. For our population, 29.5% are 15 years old or younger, 49.3% are 16 or 17 years old, and 21.3% are 18 years old or older. There are 54.1% males and 44.9% females. The grades of the respondents are as follows: 23.7% are 9th grade students, 24.6% are 10th grade students, 24.6% are 11th grade students, and 26.6% are 12th grade students. The ethnicities of our respondents are: African American (3.9%), Cambodian (0.5%), Chinese (79.7%), Filipino (1.9%), Hispanic/Latino (2.9%), Vietnamese (4.8%), South Asian (1.9%), and other (3.9%). The Chinese is a huge percentage of our survey, because we are focusing in Chinese immigrants. In our survey, 11.6% of respondents are born in US, 4.3% of them immigrated less than one year ago, 60.4% immigrated 1-3 years ago, 15% immigrated 4-6 years ago, and 9.2% immigrated more than 6 years ago.

27.5% of respondents had tried smoking cigarettes, 72.5% of them never smoked. The highest smoking rate is 6.3%: those who smoked a whole cigarette for the first time between the age 11-12 years old (of all respondents). The lowest smoking rate is 0.5%: those who started smoking cigarettes regularly between the age 11-12 years old. During the past 30 days, 2-5 cigarettes per day is the highest ratio of people who smoke. 1.9% of the smokers will not smoke in the future, 19.8% of the smokers won t try smoke, that mean people feel bad about smoking.


We disaggregated our survey into three groups: All Respondents, Chinese Only and Immigrant Only. Those who first tried cigarettes 12 years old or younger, the Chinese Only and Immigrant Only groups are lowest: 11.5% of total responses compared to 12.1% for All Respondents. However, the Chinese Only group was highest in those who started smoking regularly 12 years old or younger: 7.3% for Chinese Only, 7.1% for Immigrants Only and 6.8% for All Respondents. During the past 30 days, 0.6% of the Chinese Only smokers said they smoked the whole month, while 1.9% of All Respondents and 1.6% of Immigrant Only did. 2.2% of the Immigrant Only group said they will try cigarettes in future, more than Chinese Only (1.2%) and All Respondents (1.9%). But, more Immigrants tried quitting smoking (9.3%) cigarettes than Chinese (7.9%) or All (8.7%).

We compared our survey and the results of San Francisco Unified School District s 1993 Comprehensive High School Youth Risk Behavior Survey. We ve found a big different percentage for the people who have tried smoking cigarettes. In the SFUSD survey, 54% teenagers tried smoking cigarette, and 46% teenagers don t smoke, but in our survey 27.5% of teenagers tried smoking cigarettes and 72.5% don t smoke. From our survey, we know that the longer immigrants stay in U.S, the less they smoke. The teenagers smoking has been decreasing a lot; they know more about how smoking cigarettes is very bad for their lives. We have to stop smoking in the future, and then our world will be more beautiful.


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