Smoking Behavior and Gender Roles
Studies have shown that Lebanon has the second highest percentage of smokers in the Arab region along with the highest rate of female smokers at 35%. About 7% of women in the Arab world smoke. It has come with great relief that the Lebanese parliament has taken up a law to limit smoking and regulate the manufacture, packaging and advertising of tobacco products on august 17th, 2011. This law is the first step Lebanon takes on cutting down smoking areas in Lebanon, specifically in public areas. The law has already been successful in public organizations and places such as educational institutes and work places on September 3rd, 2011 and will be adopted in restaurants, cafes and bars in September 2012. It is to our great interest that these laws are taking places in the region with one of the highest rate of smokers. Health institutes have not succeeded in delivering an effective campaign to limit or reduce the filthy habit of smoking. We see parents and elders smoking in front of our children and infants who are in result learning to adopt such habits at a very young age and are victims of passive smoking. The world health organization study conducted in 2005 shows that 80 percent of Lebanese children are passive smokers, 60 percent of adolescents between 13 and 15 smoke and 90percent of adolescents older than 15 are influenced by tobacco advertisements. These marketing strategies have been very popular in bars and night clubs in the recent two years, where attractive model-like young ladies come and give out free packs of cigarettes promoting their new innovative dunhil switch and kent convertible which contain a filter with a small liquid-filled flavor capsule which releases a flavor of menthol when customers click the filter . Also advertising their new packaging technique which contains a double cover which can be sealed again and endure the quality of the cigarettes and prevent the tobacco from losing moisture and dry out. These new cigarettes were more than twice likely to lead to a stroke than non-menthol smokers according to researchers. “Menthol stimulates upper-airway cold receptors which can increase breath-holding time which may in turn facilitate the entrance of cigarette particulate into the lungs” said researcher Dr. Nicholas Voziros of St Micheal’s Hospital, in Toronto. Extensive marketing strategies are merely aiming to maximize tobacco company’s profits and as the law includes preventing these advertisements consumers will be less exposed and influenced by them. Individuals caught smoking in enclosed public areas will be subject to a fine of LL 100,000. This allows smokers to take the law seriously hoping for a gradual decrease in the number of smokers or diseases related to smoking.
The governments must ban the sales of tobacco products as there are many consequences to smoking like health, addiction and economic costs. Second hand smoke is a major problem, since smoking is allowed in a lot of public places. According to the World Health Organization, tobacco is the second leading cause of deaths all around the globe. The WHO estimates that 10 percent of all deaths are smoking related, which comes out to around 5.4 million deaths a year worldwide. Smoking is set to kill 6.5 million people in 2015 and 8.3 million humans in 2030, with the biggest rise in low-and middle-income countries. This number is expected to grow to 10 million by 2020. Secondhand smoke, or environmental tobacco smoke, is a mix of smoke exhaled from smokers and smoke from the burning end of a tobacco product. In effect, even the person who isn't actively smoking is still passively smoking. The dangerous components of second hand smoke linger in the air for hours after the burning tobacco product has been put out. Secondhand smoke causes 50,000 deaths in America each year. Some of those deaths are children who are victims of of sudden infant death syndrome and premature birth complications, among other causes. Second hand smoke has fifty cancer causing chemicals which are inhaled by non-smokers. Second hand tobacco smoke is also called Environment Tobacco Smoke (ETS). ETS is made up of smoke that comes from the end of a cigarette, pipe or cigar called side stream smoke. People that are constantly exposed to ETS are at increasing risk for developing health problems related to it. Since children breathe faster than adults they take in more air, and if there is ETS in the air, the children can develop a lot of health problems. ETS can cause problems like bronchitis, pneumonia, middle ear disease and asthma. In the family car many children are exposed to ETS. It is found that over half of the smokers, smoke in the car when children are present. As for smokers themselves, they are at a higher risk to their health. Smoking causes cancers to the esophagus, lungs, voice box, throat and mouth and helps develop cancers of the bladder, pancreas, cervix and kidneys. It also causes cardiovascular disease like heart disease, stroke and diseases of the blood vessels. Lung cancer was the first cancer to be linked to smoking and is the number one cause of cancer deaths of people, worldwide. Eighty to ninety percent of all lung cancer is smoking related, but lung cancer is not the only smoking related cancer, there are eight other cancers linked to smoking. Smoking also causes a lot of other diseases that permanently damage the lungs and airways by smokers. Other than cancer, respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, smoking can cause a lot of health problems like ulcers and bowel disorders (Crohn's Disease), osteoperosis (decreased bone density), thyroid disease and increased severity of rheumatoid arthritis. Smoking also causes other health problems like cataracts, menstrual disorders, sleep problems, tooth and gum damage and increased injuries. About three million people die from smoking-related diseases, world wide, each year. The smokers that die before 70 lose an average of 22 years, and the ones that die after 70 lose an average of 8 years. One in four deaths are caused by tobacco in developed countries, one in eight deaths in developing countries, and one in six deaths world wide. And also researchers say that within thirty to forty years the global death rate will rise to ten million per year. Smoking should be banned off the shelves of stores so the death rate would go down.
In the early twentieth century women were much less likely than men to smoke cigarettes, due in part to widespread social disapproval of women's smoking. During the mid-twentieth century, growing social acceptance of women's smoking contributed to increased smoking adoption by women. Increased social acceptance of women's smoking was part of a general liberalization of norms concerning women's behavior, reflecting increasing equality between the sexes. These historical trends were due in part to increases in women's employment. However, in the contemporary period employment appears to have little or no effect on women's smoking. Sex role norms and general expectations concerning gender-appropriate behavior have had a variety of effects on gender differences in smoking. First, general characteristics of traditional sex roles, including men's greater social power and generally greater restrictions on women's behavior, contributed to widespread social pressures against women's smoking. Second, traditional sex role norms and expectations have fostered gender differences in personal characteristics and experiences which influence smoking adoption. For example, rebelliousness has been more expected and accepted for males, and greater rebelliousness among adolescent males has contributed to greater smoking adoption by males. Finally, certain aspects of sex roles have contributed to gender differences in appraisal of the costs and benefits of smoking. For example, physical attractiveness is emphasized more for females and the contemporary beauty ideal is very slender, so females are more likely to view weight control as a benefit of smoking. Several other hypotheses concerning the causes of gender differences in smoking are not supported by the available evidence. For example, it appears that women's generally greater concern with health has not contributed significantly to gender differences in the prevalence of smoking. Similarly, it appears that sex differences in physiological responses to smoking have made only minor contributions to gender differences in smoking adoption or cessation. It is found that young people were ambivalent about their smoking but that this was somewhat different for boys and girls. These differences related to their social worlds, pattern of social relationships, interests, activities and concerns, the meanings they attached to smoking and the role smoking played in dealing with the everyday experience of being a boy or girl in their mid-teens. For example, boys were concerned about the impact of smoking on their fitness and sport, whereas girls were more concerned about the negative aesthetic effects such as their clothes and bodies smelling of smoke. Of particular importance was how smoking related in different ways to the gendered ‘identity work’ that adolescents had to undertake to achieve a socially and culturally acceptable image.
Smoking and drinking often formed an important part of socializing. The contexts in which they smoked were diverse including pubs, clubs, school grounds, parks, parties, their bedrooms and on the way to school. Most smoked more at weekends with friends, particularly when drinking alcohol. The importance of peers was a key theme running through accounts of starting to smoke and relapse. For example, the failure of quit attempts was in hindsight often viewed as inevitable as most of their friends smoked. Most adolescents are ambivalent about their smoking. They talk about the benefits of smoking in their daily lives, for example, peer group acceptance or fitting in (‘everyone in my group smokes’), enjoyment (‘having fun’) and affect control (‘cope with stress’, ‘calm you down’), but these were counterpoised with concerns about finance, addiction and long-term health effects. while none intended to quit in the near future, most said they had attempted to previously and hoped not to be permanent smokers. Gender differences emerged in their discussions around four themes—the tension between sport and smoking, smoking to deal with negative emotions, smoking and being part of a group and smoking and body image. Studies have found that men smoke to feel more alert and vigorous, enjoying the positive feelings associated with the habit. Women smoke because they find it relaxes them and relieves stress. Nicotine appears to promote aggression in men, but has a calming effect on women. Women also appear to be more likely to take up smoking to help control their weight. Women appear to smoke less for the nicotine and more for other factors, such as enjoying the sight and smell of tobacco smoke or the pleasure involved in interacting with other people while smoking. For example, men on cigarette breaks tend to smoke alone, while women taking smoke breaks gather in groups. Men tend to consume more cigarettes than women. About 15 percent of male smokers have more than 24 cigarettes a day, compared to just 8 percent of female smokers. Women overall smoke fewer cigarettes per day than men and are less likely to inhale deeply when they smoke. While many of the dangers of smoking cross gender lines, men and women smokers do face some unique risks. Male smokers may experience a decline in sexual potency and fertility. Female smokers have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, particularly if they are taking oral contraceptives, and they also risk early menopause, cervical cancer, bone fractures, and reproductive difficulties. Overall, women may find it much harder to stop smoking than men do. Both genders cite health concerns regarding the dangers of smoking as the top reason for quitting smoking, but the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that while 29 percent of male smokers have been able to quit, only 19 percent of female smokers have permanently broken the habit. Women are three times more likely than men to setback while trying to quit smoking without any help. Researchers have found a number of reasons why it’s harder for women to stop smoking. Women tend to suffer withdrawal more intensely than men, especially during the last two weeks of their menstrual cycles. They may find nicotine replacement therapies like nicotine patches and nicotine gum to be less helpful than men do, and tend to worry more about weight gain if they stop smoking. Women are also more likely to relapse under stress. In conclusion, if the government would ban the sales of tobacco products the health system would not have to spend so much money on cancer or smoking related health problems. They would save over one billion dollars per year. And the death rate would decrease if smoking was banned. About 33 to 50% of people who try smoking become regular smokers and 70% to 90% of people who are regular smokers are addicted to nicotine. It is as addictive as heroin and cocaine. Once children try it out when they see other people doing it, they most likely would become addicted. Smoking kills more people than HIV/AIDS, traffic accidents, murder, suicide and drug use combined. But smoking should definitely be banned from public places since second hand smoke cause’s health problems as well. So smoking should be banned because it causes so much problems to health whether it is to the smoker or to the second hand smoker.
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