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Clearing the Smoke

Smoking has been an increasing trend among youth in America. This problem has been heavily stressed in the media and society. The major risks that usually surround smoking are strictly health risks. All of the warnings from the Surgeon General on the cigarette packages warn us of the health risks such as lung disease, cancer or problems with pregnancy and so on. However, they always fail to mention the other risks such as decreased productivity in the workplace or a higher risk of starting fires or even depression. Cigarette smoking is without a doubt a bad habit and poses all of the health risks that are advertised but perhaps that’s not what gets the attention of young rebellious teenagers. In order to reach out to teenagers we must advertise the risks of smoking they are concerned with.

The messages that society has been stressing to reduce teenage smoking have had little effect. Adolescents of today are not concerned with the repetitive health hazards associated with smoking. Teenagers do not seem to take these warnings seriously enough due to a lack of exposure to them. They belittle these warnings because of they believe they are not susceptible to such illnesses if they have never been around them. They would be more interested in knowing that it could decrease their chances of finding a job.

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Teenagers have first hand experience in how difficult it could be to find a job and they can relate to it very well. In almost any high school today the career goal of any student

would be to become successful. In a national study it was found that every smoker costs his or her company at least $1000 a year because of decreased productivity (http://Ash.org). This has caused companies to look down upon smokers. Smokers are also reported to have a greater chance of injury in the work place. In effect this will take time away from their work and set them back substantially. In the near future it will be very difficult for smokers to find jobs and insurance premiums will rise. The fear of not being able to support themselves and make a living will discourage teenage smokers.

Smoking is the second leading cause of injuries related to household fires ranking only second to cooking-equipment fires. Fires can be devastating to people’s lives. They kill people, destroy their homes and leave them homeless. This is a reality that will strike teenage smokers like a brick wall. In 1992 the loss in property from smoking related fires totaled $318 million. Cigarettes are also the leading cause of fire fatalities in the United States. Twenty eight percent of all residential fire deaths are caused by smoking materials (www.health.us). The horrific idea of burning in a fire will capture the attention of American adolescent. The chance of loosing their property and the economic damage that can be done will grab their attention because of the importance of money in their lives as portrayed by our society and their parents.

It is commonly thought that teenagers suffering from depression will turn to smoking. In a recent study it was proven that smoking in fact could cause depression.

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Cigarette use is believed to be a powerful determinant of developing high depressive symptoms. In fact non-depressed teens that smoke are four times more likely to develop depression than non-smokers. Depression can be a serious illness and potential teen smokers who feel they should start smoking because they are stressed or depressed will

move away from that idea once they realize it can actually cause depression. Depression is a very common illness in America. A great deal of people use anti depressants every day to get by. It is more than likely that many teenagers have been exposed to this condition through someone in their family. To watch someone you are close to suffer from such a thing can be a traumatic experience. It can even be traumatic enough for teens to stay away from smoking just so they have a lesser chance of developing this illness.

In conclusion we see that there are many approaches we can take to get anti smoking messages across to teenagers. In this day and age teenagers are more influenced by their finances and their future or a threat for them not living a comfortable life. This includes such things as decreased productivity in the work place or fires that could result in the loss of their property or even depression. To entice teenagers not to smoke we must get such messages across that there are some very real downsides to smoking other than health risks that can destroy the path to their future leaving them lost in a cloud of s


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