Why People Continue to Smoke Despite the Known Helath Risks

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English 111, Cause/Effect

February 12, 2013

Why people continue to smoke despite the known health risks

In 2010 the CDC stated they replied to around fifteen thousand people’s questions, all

concerning tobacco and its use (Tobacco). That is not even including the around six million

people who simply viewed their “Smoking and Tobacco Use Web site” (Tobacco). With the

amount of information that is readily available, and the large number of people viewing the

information about known health risks, it seems people would not continue smoking. Yet they do

and it seems there are new smokers every day. Even an on and off smoker such as myself is left

wondering why people continue or begin smoking after having access to this knowledge. It

seems only a drastic measure will be able to curb smoking, something that people can't just

change the channel, or look away from. People will continue smoking until tobacco companies

either stop selling tobacco products or a campaign is started that is extremely direct in showing

the long term effects of smoking. Lectures could even be given in elementary schools, to reach

people with this information as young as possible. The fact that children and teens don’t often

worry about their future health is one of the main reasons they start smoking. Not realizing up to

ninety percent of them will continue smoking through adulthood (Child).

Research has even shown that almost all smokers first tried some sort of tobacco product

before they had even graduated from high school (Child). It is common knowledge that tobacco

companies have tried to market their products to children and teenagers. Tobacco companies

would even use cartoons as mascots, to try and make smoking look fun, or cool. Wanting to be

perceived as cool is one of the most common reasons younger people say they begin smoking

(Smith). Since you have to legally be at least eighteen years of age to buy and possess tobacco

products, younger people may view smoking as a mature, or adult thing to do. This idea is only

reinforced if and when the adults and authority figures in younger people’s lives are smokers

(Smith).

Why would anyone want to continue smoking and show an example of something that

can cause such major health issues? There is the obvious reason of being addicted. Most

smokers will tell you that tobacco use is not an easy thing to quit. Some doctors even have said

nicotine is more addictive, and so harder to quit, then cocaine and heroin (Six). As I stated

earlier I have smoked on and off myself for some time. I would quit for a while, and then at

some point, most commonly at a social event, I would start smoking again. People who smoke

in social situations are considered ‘social smokers’ (Six). Then the issue of nicotine addiction

comes into play and not long after, many social smokers eventually become just smokers (Smith).

Similar to when teenagers are around adults who smoke, when adults are around other

people who smoke it is much more likely they will also end up or continue smoking. Adults can

also be influenced by seeing smoking glamorized by people they may look up to. For instance,

smoking is portrayed in some movies and television shows. People then see actors and actresses,

with great skin and pearly white teeth, smoking while still seeming to ‘have it all’. What people

may not realize is that the long term effects of continuing smoking are the exact opposite. Most

people have heard a smoker coughing before, or seen that smoking can age the skin and yellow

the teeth.

. Since tobacco companies are not likely to start advertising explicitly what may happen to

someone’s health if they continue smoking, it is important for tobacco products of any kind to

not be glamorized in the media. If the media wishes to have an actor or actress smoking...
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