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Teen Smoking Essay, Research Paper
Due to peer pressure, propaganda and availability, teenage smoking has been on
the rise since 1986. Three thousand children start using tobacco each day
because of the negative influences aimed toward them. Our President and the
American Medical Association have taken action and have urged tobacco companies
to do the same against under age smoking. Despite all positive actions against
it, “pack-a-day” smoking has risen thirty-three Percent in the past ten years
among high school seniors.
Throughout life children and adults are being persuaded to do or try something
that goes against what they believe. Peer pressure is common place in grade
school, where children are constantly being exposed to smoking. Cigarettes are
being smoked everywhere authority is not, during school or any other place kids
congregate. Kids smoke because they want to feel like they ‘fit in’ and they
want to rebel at the same time. “U.S. News discussed the smoking issue with
twenty teenagers from suburban Baltimore. Half were boys, half girls, and all
were between the ages of fifteen and seventeen. Over more than four hours of
conversation, it became clear that most teens smoked for two seemingly
contradictory reasons: They want to be part of a peer group, while rejecting
society and its norms. They want to reach out and rebel at the same
time.”(Roberts 38) Tobacco companies spend four billion dollars each year in
advertising and promotional costs and claim there is no health risk. Six hundred
thousand people die every year from smoking related illness, and others quit.
Teenagers are not concerned about their health. The tobacco industry tries to
appeal to the youth. The earlier kids get hooked, the more secure the companies’
sales are. “For the tobacco industry, these youngsters are an essential source
of new customers. While cigarette makers deny it, advertising and promotion of
youthful smoking clearly helped attract the attention of teens. The rate of
youthful smoking dropped steadily from 1976 until 1984, then leveled off–just
as cigarette companies boosted promotional budgets.”(Roberts 38)
Availability of cigarettes for minors is easier than one might think. Children
have access to tobacco products many ways. They could steal them from their
parent or relative, and from a store. Their family might also give them
cigarettes, and the child smokes them with their friends. Kids can purchase
smokes from an unguarded vending machine or gas station with ease. If that does
not work they can ask someone old enough to buy packs for them. Although, it is
just as easy to walk into any store and ask for them. Convenience stores are
constantly getting fined for the underage sale of tobacco. If laws were more
strict on the sale of tobacco to minors, then kids would smoke less. The harder
it is to get cigarettes, the less they will smoke them.
It is clear from the surveys and articles published that teen smoking is on the
rise. Teenage smoking is escalating at the rate of one million new recruits a
year. Despite the work of governmental and independent agencies the tobacco
industries continue to sell cigarettes at an alarming rate, due to peer pressure
propaganda and availability of the product. Something must be done to make
people aware of the risks.
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