Why and what influences teenagers to start smoking? This is the topic that no one has the accurate answer. It has been recorded that teenagers smoking is on the rise lately and the exact reason for it, is still unknown. It cannot be denied that everyone dislikes smokers and even the smell of cigarettes can be an unpleasant feeling, but no-one tries to understand why teenagers start smoking in the first place. In this research, it be seen how we tried to find what influences the teenagers to start smoking despite all the warnings, awareness and most importantly the knowledge of knowing that cigarettes smoking are injury to health. Among adults who smoke, 68 percent began smoking regularly at age 18 or younger, and 85 percent started when they were 21 or younger (American Lung Association, 2012).
“Despite all the millions spent to avoid people to smoke, still the smokers seemed to give very little concern about this matter. As a matter of fact, it cannot be denied that cigarette smoking has been a norm in this 21st century. “You can eat five portions of fruit or vegetables a day and exercise regularly but healthy behavior means little if you continue to smoke. (Netdoctor, 2012) Mostly everyone knows that smoking can cause cancer and other sort of illnesses and the most dangerously is lung cancer but despite the warnings, smokers are still addicted to it. For them, they think by smoking cigarettes, it can provide relief and a sort of consolation. As known to all even to the smokers itself, smoking cigarettes bring more harm and cause serious health issues not only to the person smoking but also to those exposed to it. Still, why do people even pick up such a habit even though they are aware of all the health risks related to smoking? So in order to avoid the increase of smokers, I agree that cigarette smoking should be banned just as drug consumption.”
So the main reason this research has been done is to reveals what influences teenagers to start smoking. What influences teenagers to smoke is proved by the researcher as they have planned to use journals and articles in chapter two. In the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, it is found that boys and girls alike think ‘smoking may be an effective tool for weight control’. Where else, in a study published in Journal of Consumer Research by researcher Cornelia Pechmann, (2011) concluded that adolescent are influenced and affected by the type of tobacco advertising and media they are exposed to. Using both quantitative and qualitative methodology, the researchers have stated the analysis of methodology using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) method. Moreover, in chapter five of this research, the researcher is able to summarize the whole research work and make recommendation to the areas with problems that are identified in the research.
Tobacco substance is one of the hazardous substances that is created thousand of years ago. It destroys the smoker’s health. Once you start smoking, you cannot quit. Cigarettes is something like drugs and very addictive to smokers. As we all know and are aware of, smoking is something hazardous to everyone’s health. Young people smoke for many reasons. They are not aware of what they would be facing and how it will affect their future. Other than that, when a person smokes, not only that particular person will be affected with the consequences but also the ones surrounding that person who inhale the cigarette smoke. These people are in a higher risk to be diagnosed with the consequences such as lung cancer than the person that smokes those passive smokers have the most dangerous effect. That is the main reason why when the word ‘smoking’ is mentioned it reminds everyone of cancer. Programs and events that are being handled in order to bring awareness to the public about the effects of smoking are also not helping. Therefore, this research is primarily done to know what are the actual reasons teenagers nowadays are influenced in the habit of smoking.
Chapter 2: Literature Review
Our thesis aims to find out what influences teenagers to start smoking. For our purposes we conducted a literature search using journals, books and articles. Our review highlights on the major reason of teenagers smoking. The reasons why teenagers now days are influenced in smoking are difficult to be categorized. In the body of literature examined, it was said that the rise in the rates of teenagers smoking was due to the fact that many teenagers were influenced by friends, advertisements, undergoing peer pressure, influenced by parents or weight control.
According to the Youth Smoking Survey(2012), it is concluded that 22% of youth between grades 6 to 9 and 48% of youth between the grades 10 to 12 are reported have tried a tobacco product for at least once. 3% of this youth that has tried the product is reported to be current smokers. Several other studies says that the reasons that causes teenagers to start smoking is low self-esteem and the influence of advertisements that gives them an impression that smoking is sociable and help them get in the “in crowd”.
Research has illustrated that coping with stress is a reason to smoking. Just like adults, teenagers use smoking to relieve stress, where the nicotine in the cigarette quickly activates the pleasure side of the brain which creates positive feelings and sensation. The extensive review by Dr. Sheila Bonas, (2012) a lecturer in health psychology, Coventry states that most smokers first start experimenting with cigarette in their teens. It is said that in UK the percentage of teenagers smoking is increasing as they get older. The reason behind the causes of children start smoking includes parents influence. Children whose parents smoke are in a higher risk of starting when compared to those children whose parents are non-smokers. Moreover, according to the study by the World Health Organization, (2012) it is found that the teenagers who were mostly smokers were lonely, had difficulty talking to parents, and had problems at school and so on. Another interesting point that Dr. Sheila Bonas, (2012) has stated was social learning. Social learning theory describes how we learn by example from others. Normally we are easily influenced by our parents and other people that we look up to, which lead us to copy their behavior and try smoking.
According to the writer, Todd Flemming, (2012) smoking is getting more familiar in our society that you will have your friends or family members who smoke. In our society, smoking is getting very addictive for everyone that it is unobjectionable and a new trend for this generation. It is stated that this smoking habits usually comes from the one’s early or mid-teenage years. The most common reasons are peer pressure. Those who to start smoking; they are most likely get a lot of pressure from their friends or classmates. Teenagers do have a lot of doubts against smoking. They think that they can only become friends with their peers if they start smoking. Children with low self-confidence in themselves, they tend to start smoking just to hang out with the most popular kid. Furthermore, the environment does take place in which the teenagers grow up. They start following their parents, siblings, or relatives who smoke. Toddy Flemming (2012) wrote saying that some children will start picking up the habit it’s either consciously or unconsciously. Some children have the feelings to become matured, just to be with those who are adults. We do agree with Toddy Flemming’s points about the smoking habits. His points really helped our research by pointing out the right causes of smoking habits among teenagers.
As said by Todd Flemming, peer pressure is said to be one of the reasons why teenagers are influenced to smoking cigarette. This can be seen in a research done by Neil Smith (2012) who states that most kids respond to peer pressure differently. They are opened to its influences in their early teens. This is where they care more about what are their friend’s opinion than anything else and will try their very best to stay in their friend’s good graces. As mentioned by Dr. Sheila Bonas (2012) earlier, unable to cope with stress is also the reason for teenagers to begin smoking. This point has also been elaborated by Neil Smith where he states that teenagers and adults that have poor strategies in solving problem and dealing with stress is in more risk of adopting the smoking habit. The rebellion is also another fascinating point that has been put forward by Neil Smith. As we all know and are aware of, the kids now days has begin to push the envelope in the terms of rules and boundaries. One of their ways of doing this is by smoking cigarettes, especially when the appeal comes in the form of demanding. For example when someone warns them not to do a particular matter that is when they would want to do it.
The phenomenon of smoking among teenagers has been rising extremely high. This research paper is targeting at youth with the intention to gather what influences them to start smoking. As known to all, there are many reasons why adolescents picking up the smoking habit and one of the most common reasons are peer pressure. It cannot be denied that being a teenager can be extremely difficult in today’s world and one of the biggest difficulties is when they face the problem of peer pressure. To us whether we like it or not, we have to admit that friends play a major role in a teenager’s life. According to the author, Lindsey Samilian, (2012) states that teens smoke because their friends do and as we all know, teenagers spend most of their time with friends, so this is the evidence on how they get influence by their friends who smokes. Furthermore, another interesting point according to the Child Psychology Research Blog, teenagers with higher exposure to movies and television programs that feature characters smoking are more likely to start themselves. So it can be concluded that the higher the exposure a teenagers to movie star smoking, the higher the possibility that the teenagers will start smoking.
These resources have helped us a lot in our research paper. It has given us an extra input regarding of our problem statement. In a nutshell, we do agree with the author’s point of views which eventually helped us gain more knowledge on cigarette smoking.
Chapter 3: Research Methodology
Research is a general term among which basically covers all kinds of studies that used in academic activity which includes investigation of a particular topic using a variety of reliable resources. The main purpose of research is to find out the truth which is hidden and which has not been discovered yet. The Advanced Learner’s Dictionary of Current English, 1952 claims that the meaning of research as “a careful investigation or inquiry especially through search for new facts in any branch of knowledge”. In short it can be explained that research defines as the search for knowledge through objective and systematic method of finding solution to a problem. It can also define in three major ways which is by establishing facts, analysing information, and new conclusions. In a clear perception, research methodology is a way to systematically solve the research problem. It may be understood as a science of studying how research is done scientifically. In it we study the various steps that are generally adopted by a researcher in studying his research problem along with the logic behind them. It is necessary for the researcher to know not only the research methods or techniques but also the methodology. Besides that, researchers also need to understand the assumptions underlying various techniques and the criteria by which they can decide that certain techniques and procedures which will be applicable to certain problems. In a simplest way, it is necessary for the researcher to design his methodology for his problems as the same may differ from problem to problem. Furthermore, research methodology is a set of procedures or methods which used to conduct research. There are two broad approaches of research methodology which is qualitative methods and quantitative methods. Both these methodologies have different functions. As for quantitative research, it is about investigating thing which could be observed and measure in some way. Such observations and measurements can be made objectively and repeated by other researchers. Whereas qualitative research, on the other hand, is an attempt to increase the understanding of why things are the way they are in our social world and why people act the way they do (Marshall & Rossman, 1999). In a nutshell, qualitative methods aim to discover the underlying motives of human behaviour. Through such research we can analyse the various factors which motivate people to behave in a particular manner or which make people like or dislike a particular thing.
A quantitative methodology test theory concludes from the existing knowledge, through forming hypothesized relationships and suggested outcomes for the study; qualitative researchers are guided by particular ideas, perspectives or hunches regarding the topic to be investigated. The quantitative methods used produced reasonable scientific answers, and as a result of this data, action was developed and changes took place. Quantitative research demands a random selection of sample from the study population and a random assignment of the sample to the various study groups. There are three key factors of quantitative research. The first key factor is control which is the important element because it enables the scientist to identify the causes of his or her observations. The second key factor is operational definition where the terms should be defined by the procedure used in order to avoid any confusion in meaning and communication during the investigation. The final key factor is replication where the data obtained from the experiment carried out should be reliable. The weakness of the quantitative approach is that random selection is time-consuming, with the result that many studies use more easily obtained sample. This inhibits the possibilities of generalization, especially if the sample is too small. In quantitative research, the researchers maintain a fixed objective view to understand the facts. The use of some procedure may bring no direct contact with the topics at all as in postal questionnaire surveys (Quantitative and Qualitative Approaches, Christina Hughes, 2012).
On the other hand, a qualitative research is mainly to describe a particular aspect of the phenomenon, using a view to explain the subject of the study. According to Benoliel, 2012 he described qualitative research as ‘modes of systematic enquiry concerned with understanding human beings and the nature of their transactions with themselves and with their understandings’. Methods such as grounded theory and ethnography research can be described as a qualitative approach. In order to adding quality to the data obtained, it helps in subjects to increase issues and topics that researchers would not have included in a structured designed research. When qualitative methods lose on reliability they gain in terms of validity. They provide a more depth and rich description. One weakness of a qualitative methodology is the fact that the process is under-standardized and depends on the insights and the abilities of the observer, thus making the judgment of the theory difficult. Study has examined that this issues can be demonstrated that reliability could be assessed by using independent experts to examine different aspects of the methods of developing grounded theory. However, one must question the feasibility of using such a costly process in terms of time and money in order to check the theory of qualitative study (Quantitative and Qualitative Approaches, Christina Hughes, 2012).
In order to help us get more information about our research, we have chosen to use questionnaires as it seems to be a logical and easy option to collect information from people and to find out what are their opinion on teenagers now days smoking. The respondent can decide to use closed or open questions, and is also offered multiple choice questions from which to choose the statement which nearly describes their answer or opinion to a statement. Other techniques such as, case study and interviews was not chosen to be used as our source from the respondent because it takes a longer period and it enables face to face discussion with the respondent which requires a suitable person to be interviewed.
The methods or techniques employed to analyze the data collected is through the internet and pubic survey. We did a small survey where we can ask a few people regarding of what they think about smoking and also what they think that influences teenagers to smoke cigarettes now days. A positive outcome from the survey has been done since our respondents were mostly elderly people and young adult.
Chapter 4: Analysis of Methodology
This study is based on the problem statement that we choose for our research which is “What influences teenagers to start smoking?” This study took place at Segi College Kuala Lumpur between October 11 and October 12. The questionnaire was given to the Segi students’ range of the age between 18 to 24 years old. For the results based on the questionnaires, a total number of twenty respondents were chosen for this research. Out of 20 respondents, 60% found under male category and the rest 40% under the female category. A total 95% agreed that the main influence of teenagers’ to smoke cigarettes are friends and the rest 5% of the respondent’s answered that parents are the main influence. Based on the questionnaire that was given out, we have researched that 60% of the respondents are smoking and 40% of the students do not smoke.
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Moreover, 75 % disagreed that they have intend to stop smoking in the next six months whereas 25% agreed that they will stop smoking for the next six months. 25% strongly agreed that their husband, wife or partner will be supportive or helpful to try stopping them from smoking. 50% agreed that their husband, wife or partner will be supportive or helpful to try stopping them from smoking and the rest 25% did not agree any of the people that they think will be supportive or helpful. 66.67% strongly agreed that their family members will be very supportive stopping them from smoking whereas 25% agreed that only their family members will help them to stop smoking and the rest 8.33% did not agree about the statement that was given.16.67 % totally agreed that their friends will be supportive or helpful to try stopping them from smoking.33.33% agreed that their friends will help them to try stopping them from smoking and 50% did not agree that their friends will give motivation or even being supportive to help them stop smoking. Other than that, 8.33 % strongly agreed that their working colleagues will help stopping them from smoking. 50% agreed that their working colleagues will help be supportive to stop them from smoking and the rest 41.67% did not agree about their working colleagues.
Furthermore, 25% of the respondents answered that it is difficult for them to stop smoking because they enjoy it.16.67% answered that they are too addicted to smoking until it is difficult for them to stop smoking.25% of the respondents had answered that they do not have enough of will power to stop smoking and the rest of 33.33% can’t resist the craving for cigarette. 25% respondents answered that their family will be the prime reason if they have the in tend to stop smoking. While 8.33% respondents answered that their partner is the prime reason if they have the courage to stop smoking whereas 66.67% respondents answered that their health is the prime reason. 58.33 % of the respondents prefer to smoke because influenced by their friends. 16.67% of the teenagers answered that they want to look “macho” if they smoke and 25% choose to smoke because of their curiosity. 16.67 % of the respondents answered that the reason why they are addicted to smoking is because of their peer pressure.33.33% choose depression as their answer based on the question on why are they addicted to smoking. The other 50% answered that they are stress and that’s why they are addicted to smoking. 100% agreed that society do play an important role in teenagers smoking habit. Other than that, 25% of the respondents answered that they began to smoke regularly age range between 11-15 years old. 58.33% of the respondents answered age range between 16-18 years old was the age they began to smoke cigarettes and while the others 16.67 % start smoking age range 19 and above.
As the research of the questionnaire was going on, we found out that 50% agreed that smoking really aids weight loss and the other 50% disagreed with the statement. 40% agreed that they will consider taking up smoking to lose weight and 60% disagreed that they do not consider taking up smoking to lose weight.20% of the respondents agreed that it will affect the relationship or interaction with them if their friends smoke and the rest 80% of the respondents disagreed. Moreover, 30% agreed that cigarettes should be made illegal and 70% strongly disagreed that cigarettes should be made illegal. 40% of the respondents which are the non-smoker agreed that they will consider smoking and 60% of the respondents which are the non-smoker disagreed that they will ever consider smoking.45% agreed that they will feel bothered when people smoke cigarettes around them and the other 55% disagreed with the statement. 85% of the respondents which are non-smoker agreed that they will consider giving advice or motivate their friends or family members to stop smoking whereas 15% disagreed that they will consider or give support to their friends or family members to stop smoking. Last but not least, 5% of the respondents feel comfortable when their opposite sex smokes. 80% of the respondents answered uncomfortable and 15% answered I don’t mind if their opposite sex smokes.
Chapter 5: Conclusion & Recommendation
As a conclusion, we would like to say that many people have different prospects on smoking. Being aware of the dangers of smoking and how it can harm a person’s health, we still wonder why some people actually even pick up this bad habit. Many still don’t realize that they are not only harming themselves but also others by smoking. The government has done its duty by giving a helping hand in reducing the amount of smokers in the country by increasing the price of the cigarettes. There are many answers to why teenagers nowadays are influenced to the smoking habit. According to our research, we have concluded that the main influence is friends. It may be in any form. That is by trying to be in the “in group” or being forced by their friends to try to smoke and later on being addicted to it or even because of low self-esteem. Eventually one day, our country will be a smoke free where the population of smokers will decrease dramatically.
Based on our research, we would like to give some recommendations that we think can help in reducing the amount of smokers in our country. First of all, mass media as we all know is a large influence on teenagers nowadays. The teenagers tend to follow or adopt whatever that is being advertised or shown in the media. Not only advertisements on smoking will affect the teenagers but celebrities also play a big role. Teenagers tend to adopt the characteristics of their favourite celebrity through the media. If a celebrity smokes, so as the fans of the celebrity. Moreover, the media may also lend a helping hand by organizing various anti-smoking campaigns is that associated with the negatives of smoking and how it may affect a person’s health and also the people surrounding him.
Next is home. Home is the main place where children get their knowledge from. Whatever, they see and hear is doing great effects to the development of their personalities and also their attitudes. The bad habit of smoking depends on how the parents bring up their children. By showing the children good examples, by not smoking or smoking in front of them, may help them to not pick up the habit. Giving them knowledge in order for them to be aware of what are the negatives of smoking and how it can causes cancers at an early age will help them get a clearer picture on smoking. Lack of parents’ guidance and supervision may cause the children to feel lonely and stressed up. This may lead them to picking up the habit.
Finally would be the schools. The school is the place where children and teenagers spend most of their time. It is the place where they develop their personality and characteristics. The schools should set rules and policies that will help to guide the students to have a proper behaviour and form into a good young adult that is able to lead his life in a proper way. By having the Moral subject in school will also help the students realize what is good and what is bad for them. They are able to get a good picture on it and try their best to not fall into the wrong habits.