Smoking is, perhaps, the most prevalent social issue facing the developed countries in the contemporary world. Approximately, one in every four American males, and one in every five females smoke tobacco. While this social behavior has largely been used as a form of entertainment, relieving anxiety, stimulation, and creation of new acquaintances, it is undeniable that it is a major problem that has far-reaching effects, not only on an individual’s health, but also on the larger society (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 155). Unlike many other social issues, this particular one can be solved from an individual approach, involving the instillation of positive behavior and routine counseling (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 24). This paper champions the thesis that smoking remains a live threat to the health and social stability of the current society, but amicable solutions could still be applied to mitigate it.
Scientific researches reveal that nicotine is the most active ingredient in tobacco, which is highly addictive, but alongside it, a single puff of smoke contains over seven thousand chemicals, which have been identified to have detrimental effects on health. It is also estimated that every year, over 480, 000 lives are lost as a result of smoking, in the United States alone (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 155). Precisely, it causes more deaths than the cumulative impacts of HIV/AIDS, firearm-related incidents, road accidents, alcohol use, and illegal drug abuse. Individuals differ in their rates of smoking, but an average smoker takes about half a packet on a daily basis. Even if one only smokes socially, that is, once in a while, one still stands liable to the health risks that accompany this behavioral problem. Factually, it has been found that tobacco contains over 60 cancerous chemicals (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 155). Additionally, every functional organ in the body is at risk being affected, with the respiratory system bearing the biggest burden. Other such as the circulatory system, the immune system, musculoskeletal system, and sexual organs also experience their fair share of these deteriorative effects.
Smoking might be taken lightly as a peer habit, and has been greatly used to make new friendships, advance levels and number of acquaintances, and create a platform for new group affiliations. It may all start with just requesting for a lighting match, or a puff, and a whole chapter of conversation that ultimately breeds new friendship could ensue. As a result, members of a smoking team may have such strong ties that when one tries to quit, one may be ridiculed as a coward, and may be treated with renewed venom and hatred (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 24). It implies, therefore, that apart from the problem of addictions, the ‘cartels’ that surround the smokers are strong enough to prevent one from eschewing such habit. But the real question is: is this problem not solvable? What amicable solution could be best applied to mitigate it completely?
While it has been a common belief that smoking is the hardest habit to quit, this paper insists that it is not entirely indispensable. For instance, getting together with like-minded addicts who want to experience an honest turn-around in their lives is a great place to start from. Just as peer pressure is a big contributing factor in the initiation of one into the habit, it can also act as a tool to recede from it (ETR Associates 13) When one gets together with this group of people, they can be able to form common goals, rehabilitate one another, and get expert advice on proven methods of quitting. Additionally, resisting the urge to buy cartons of cigarettes could also make a lot of difference when it comes to gradual retrieval from the behavior. Instead, one should train oneself to buy just a few cigars, or just a pack at a time, so that the rate of smoking can be reduced with time. Joining a health promotion team or organization could give one an opportunity to express one’s dangerous experiences as a result of smoking, which would not only go a long way in helping the society, but also the individual in fighting the behavior. To others, the addiction may be so intense that just making a decision to start quitting seems like an unachievable milestone. To such people, it would be prudent to use deeper approaches such as the use of chewing gums. It is suggested in the literature that chewing of gums preoccupies a perennial smoker’s mind, so that he/she thinks less about cigarettes.
From the above suggested solutions, the use of chewing gums in preventing smoking behavior has been largely proven to have a high degree of feasibility. They have the same functional and addictive element, nicotine, which can be used to retard the ravenous desires of a chain smoker. It is much safer, since, in this case, nicotine is absorbed through the teeth gums and the mouth linings, without necessarily having to pass through the lungs. As an added advantage, chewing gum does not predispose one to the harmful effects of smoke and tar from cigarettes. As a result of this important discovery about the role of chewing gum in reducing the cravings for cigarettes, nicotine gums have been developed to help supply the body of an addict with adequate and required amounts of nicotine. This approach has been widely used even in medical settings to curb pervasive behaviors of smoking. This particular strategy is, so far, the best, since it allows an individual to practice self-training on quitting, and also has low chances of recidivism.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. QuickStats: Number of Deaths from 10 Leading Causes—National Vital Statistics System, United States, 2010. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 62.08 (2013): 155. Print
ETR Associates. FAQs: Tobacco Social Smoking. California: Ralph Cantor. 2003. Print
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. How Tobacco Smoke Causes Disease: What It Means to You. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2010. Print.