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Teen Smoking Essay, Research Paper

Teen Smoking

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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