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Teenagers views on smoking and the health risks

Smoking among teenagers has turned into a growing problem for the UK and many other parts of the world. This common behaviour amongst teenagers is among the many that pose a risk with their health. At age 11 years, 5 to 6 % of secondary school boys admitted to smoking frequently and one in four boys become regular smokers by enough time they reached 16 years. (Livingstone 1983). Teenagers often engage with a cigarette from in early stages in their lives and after that make a decision whether to keep smoking or not. However, every individual teenager would you smoke have their own particular reasons as to why there smoke as there are many factors including social, environmental and parental factors r teenage smoking. Little attention has been paid to trying to avoid teenagers from smoking rather than trying to get teenagers who already smoke to quit.

The purpose of this research is to learn why teenagers smoke and what factors contribute to a teenager to start smoking. The purpose of researching into teenager's knowledge and views on smoking is basically because smoking from an early on age is an issue under western culture because cigarettes as well as many other drugs contain harmful substances in them such as poisonous gases and are specifically known and has been scientifically which can cause death from cancer, heart and respiratory problems as well as much other diseases. Despite all of the knowing of the dangers of smoking from tv set and other media campaigns, teenagers continue steadily to smoke either for their attitude they have towards smoking or their personal health beliefs and having less willingness to receive help to stop smoking cigarettes. (Livingstone 1983)

Literature review

There has been numerous researches regarding teenage smoking and the knowledge of the health risks associated with smoking and the reasons why teenagers choose to smoke. Generally, teenagers get started to smoke because they would like to fit into a specific group. Lloyd (1998). For instance, if teenagers have friends who smoke, they will take up and try smoking because they would like to stay within their group and become accepted by other members which can also be known as 'peer pressure', whereby members of a particular group have a very strong influence over someone else in what they certainly and how they behave. Many adolescents also value the image they portray to others. Smoking carries a graphic to teenagers from what they see from the media such as television, the internet, newspapers and magazines and frequently mimics other celebrities or people who they feel are role models to them. Margaret o' Hyde et al (2005) suggested that teenagers smoke for a variety of reasons. Teenager's bodyweight, for example, looking slim, which relates to their image, is an integral element in teenager's who start smoking. Another reason as to the reasons teenagers smoke is to do with rebellion against their parents. During adolescence, parents have a tendency to proceed through stages using their children where they might not enjoy a, for example, rules and regulations. Teenagers may smoke merely to annoy or frustrate their parents. Teenagers are in the process of seeking independence and experimenting with new things e. g. smoking. Another reason as to why teenagers learn to smoke could be because of the fact that they may see adults smoking and feel that this is actually the norm to behave in this manner and therefore continue throughout their adult life. For instance, they could see their parents smoking as a child growing up.

Teenage smoking can start young within the family home. In some cases, when there are physical, social, emotional or psychological abuse between your teenagers parents, this could contribute to a substantial reason as to why teenagers may commence to smoke. These teenagers may feel far more stressed within the family home. They may also have low self-esteem and so turn to cigarette smoking to handle their family issues at home. For women, smoking might make sure they are feel more attractable to the opposite sex and cool, as well as for boys, they may smoke to make themselves feel more masculine as they buy into the advertising they see from the media about the gender stereotypes of how to behave.

Tobacco used in teenagers is a major cause for serious health issues including cardiovascular disease, lung, and throat and mouth cancer as teenagers become adults. It can be shown that we now have many factors that influence a teenager's decision to smoke. Plant (1992) suggested that we now have environmental, biological and constitutional theories related to teenage smoking. Firstly, the biological and constitutional theories relate to set up teenager has genetically inherited it using their parents which can also decide if the teenager becomes dependent after smoking tobacco. Also plant (1992) argues that lots of young adults may be more susceptible to develop nicotine dependence, cancer or heart or lung disease than others. Therefore, this theory is suggesting that certain individuals may be fond of tobacco, which really is a stimulant drug because of biological and psychological characteristics.

There are environmental factors that can contribute to a teenager decision to smoke. In some instances people who are socially disadvantaged or who are in poverty tend to smoke tobacco more greatly. However, some people with an increased social status also have a tendency to smoke but have had a good upbringing.

Drug knowledge is an important theme in establishing why certain teenagers smoke and others do not smoke. Many teenagers don't realize the health risks associated with smoking which might be one of the reason why as to the reasons they have continued to smoke. Leech and Jordan (1967) argued that many teenagers star smoking because of being ignorant about how precisely smoking will affect them or how harmful it can be with their body. In addition they argued that teenagers are curious to find out what smoking feels as though. This could mean that if teenagers knew fully about the dangers of smoking, then this could be a deterrent to prevent them from starting smoking. However, it can be argued that teenagers have been given health education in schools about the health risks of smoking, so Leech and Jordan (1967) may not be looking at a representative population of teenagers. Teenagers may be given adequate facts and information about smoking hazards, however, they choose to ignore these details and view smoking as a confident move to make (Livingstone 1983). There's been evidence to claim that teenagers are fully alert to the dangers of smoking. A study in the north east and Cumbria showed that teenagers that smoked frequently had regular coughs and eighty one per cent of the teenagers were aware that if they smoked they are likely to have a persistent cough.


My aims to track teenagers knowledge to smoking and the health risks associated with smoking. Also i'd like to review teenager's attitudes and beliefs about smoking, if they are aware that smoking causes potential health risks as well as campaigns to avoid folks from smoking. The reasons behind these aim is to focus on dependency, quitting smoking, teenagers awareness of smoking related articles, promotions and advertising in the media. I've chose this subject area smoking among teenagers has become ever more popular and i would like to try and find ways to make teenagers that do smoke more aware of the health risks and also what organisations e. g. local health authorities and schools can do to reduce the amount of teenage smokers

Methods and design

The study is likely to be set within a second school in the neighborhood region of Wimbledon. The devised study was to address the issue of smoking in local adults and also to highlight the importance of health authorities, the federal government, schools and parents to be aware of this issue. The design is to get insights into the attitudes and beliefs by examining the data and views that the teenagers aged 13-16 years have about smoking.

The sample size will be 10 teenagers to make comparisons between each of the teenagers that will take part in the analysis, that could provide significant information to develop an effective technique to decrease the prevalence of smoking within teenagers. I am using questionnaires and semi-structured interviews to carry out this research. For the semi-structured interviews I'll record my findings on to a tape recorder by by using a dictaphone which should take between 20 to thirty minutes to carry out

I should first perform a pilot study to check set up interviews are going to be effective enough to carry out the research. I am going to also send a letter to the institution that I would like to carry out the research in order to obtain permission from the head teacher.

. The interviews covers significant themes like the participants' family background, attitude towards smoking and other important key themes. This may be done to handle in great depth why teenagers choose to get started on smoking and the extent of these knowledge of the health risks related to smoking tobacco in order for me to obtain a broader knowledge and understanding of this matter.


The possible results that we plan to find within this research is that teenagers may smoke because of peer pressure by friends from school and outside of school and discovering and exploring new images and identities could be a possible explanation for teen smoking. Teen smoking may be a form of leisure for many teenagers therefore that they are able to conform to subcultures in society. Additionally it is more than likely that teenagers may smoke due to their own attitudes and health beliefs. For example, teenagers may know medical risks of smoking but choose to ignore them and the consequences of smoking. I might also realize that teenagers may smoke cigarettes to relieve the strain and frustration that they could have over exams as it might relax and provides a feeling of pleasure.

Risk Assessment

There is a risk for the parents of teenagers and the teachers involved to know that the interview questions and research will be the same that is outlined in the debrief and in the letter of consent. Also i'll need a teacher to supervise me to be sure i am safe from children and for them to be considered a witness through the interview process. The ethical issues involved are Consent to participate was sought from teenagers themselves on a continuing basis and earlier meetings will be made to explain the research also to distribute written information sheets which will be provided.

I may find that truancy of teenagers may become a problem if I have planned to conduct research with that particular teenager. A good way to overcome this problem is that I possibly could leave this interview before very end of my research and come back to it when the interviewee returns.

Confidentiality will be an ethical issue to handle; I will make sure that the teenagers names are not revealed throughout the analysis. In order to make sure that what I produce from my research is acceptable for the interviewees, they will have the right to touch upon any part of my research that they are unhappy with.

I must be sure that I have taking into account most of my interviewees psychological, and emotional wellbeing, values, beliefs and views. I have to recognise that as a researcher undertaking interviews that we are in a multi-cultural society and people come from various backgrounds and are of different ages and genders.

Anonymity is a serious ethical issue which should be considered which ensures the interviewees identity is as yet not known. If records of my research remain kept, then I will need to ensure that these will be safe and still kept anonymous.

My participants are entitled to privacy. If a predicament in the interview becomes distressing, uncomfortable or embarrassing, the participant has the to withdraw from the research or withdraw whatever they feel is sensitive to them. I will need to also carry out a debrief with my participants which will show the participant the aims and the purpose of conducting this research. That is to avoid any deception that they could have about my research. I will also need to ensure that my participants are safe from any physical discomfort, stress within my research plus they should be protected from this at all times and the to withdraw if indeed they do feel stressed.

(2100 words)

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