College Writing 2
November 25 2011
Parents and adolescents are not educated enough about the dangers of smoking. Each year over 400,000 people die from smoking cigarettes, including those affected indirectly through second-hand smoke. The effects of cigarette smoking are numerous. Some mild effects include shortness of breath and poor circulation. More serious effects include respiratory diseases such as bronchitis and emphysema, as well as cancers of the lungs, throat, and mouth. There is overwhelming evidence that almost all smokers begin when they are young. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, “More than 80% of adult smokers begin smoking before 18 years of age.
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“Adolescents who held the highest perceptions of smoking-related benefits were 3.31 times more likely to initiate smoking” (Song et al. 487). Researchers concluded that “…adolescents' decisions about tobacco use are based on a balance of both perceived risks and perceived benefits” (Song et al. 491). These findings indicate that educating adolescents about long-term risks is not sufficient. Although smoking cigarettes have terrible long-term effects, short-term risks and perceived benefits also predict smoking initiation. More effort should be taken to decrease the perceived benefits that many adolescents have about cigarette smoking. They should also be educated about short-term risks as well. The best way to cut down on adolescent smoking initiation is to reduce perceptions of benefits associated with smoking and to educate teens about both short term and long term risks. According to the SEMCA Workforce Development Board, short-term risks of cigarette smoking are not pretty. They include “bad breath, yellow and brown stained teeth and fingers, smelly clothes, car, furniture and homes that reek.” (Tobacco. 9.) For adolescents to have these physical appearances is a very unattractive trait, especially at such a young age. Aside from effects on physical appearance, cigarette smokers spend a lot of their money to satisfy their habits. “Tobacco users pay higher health insurance premiums and miss more days of work every year. Collectively, the