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Teenage Smoking - Essay Example

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Summary
Teenage smoking is a socio-psychological problem across the world and requires public attention and genuine governmental intervention. Despite the current law enforcement strategies and awareness programs, the issue has turned to be a serious behavioral problem in adolescents especially in regions where smoking is highly endemic and linked to mannerism. …
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Teenage Smoking

Download file to see previous pages... As per the findings of Holm et al, 80% of all smokers in the United States begin smoking even before the age of 18 (27). Because of the increased threat it raises to health and personal integrity, the prohibition of teenage smoking has become the most essential legal concern. In the United States, the issue has been a topic for debate for several decades between tobacco selling tycoons and social activists. Evidently, as an amicable solution to the controversial issue, the legal age of smoking should be raised, when at the same time, teenage smokers are perceived as vulnerable group that requires comprehensive care. The minimum legal age either for using or purchasing/selling tobacco products varies from country to country with an average range of 18-24. In most of the European countries including Poland, Serbia, Portugal, France, and UK the minimum legal age for smoking cigarettes is now 18. In contrast in the United States, there is no unified regulation on this issue and the minimum age restriction varies from state to state. Although 18 has been generally accepted as the minimum age, the decision is left to the discretion of states. For instance, many states including Alabama, Alaska, New Jersey, and some other counties of New York have recently reset the minimum age for smoking from 18 to 19. As per the Revised Washington Code, a person under the age of 18 who purchases or attempts to purchase, possesses, or attempts to possesses, obtain, or attempts to obtain cigarettes or tobacco products commits a class 3 civil infraction under chapter 7.8. (RCW 2002). Obviously, teenage smoking has to be approached with a socio-psychological perspective other than merely considering it as a health issue. Arguments favoring the rise of legal age to 19 or 21 strongly opine that teenage smoking indicates the behavioral inconsistency among adolescents which can be resolved only through comprehensive programs with the collective involvement of various governmental and non-governmental organizations. In order to define the behavioral changes of teenagers with regard to smoking as a symptom, we need to analyze some other aspects of this controversy. Researchers are deeply at odds regarding the factors that determine one’s behavior. Despite the actual trait, behavior of an individual is primarily determined by situational variables and environment. Hence, a person’s behavior is ever changing depending on the situation, place, and the surroundings. If an individual demonstrates exceeding emotional attachment or detachment to anything that comes within his personal environment it presumably point to a behavioral problem. This can be true with the adolescent smokers no matter how they got into this risk group. Several attempts have been made to reduce the use of tobacco products among the youth in the United States notably since 1996 as Food and Drug Administration (FDA) revised its previous policy. As Jacobson notes, the initial step the States took was to introduce provisions ‘to suit tobacco industry to recover healthcare costs associated with smoking among medical recipients’ (1). One of the notable actions implemented with intent to reduce teenage smoking is the hike in cigarette price which according to some researchers has brought about significant decline in smoking habits. As Jacobson states, “the cost of cigarettes faced by teenagers can be raised through both price and non-price measures. Policy makers at the federal, state, and local levels can increase the price of cigarettes by raising cigarettes excise taxes-perhaps the most direct route of action” (Jacobson, 178). Admittedly, till date, the smoking ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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