With risks of lung cancer, stroke, chronic lung disease, coronary heart disease and death, smoking is a very risky habit. Young adults are the target of the tobacco industry.
According to the American Cancer Society, smoking rates were declining from 1989 to 2005, but adults ages 18-24 now “have the fastest-growing rate of tobacco use and are the focus of tobacco company marketing efforts as the ‘smokers of the future.’”
“We don’t research habits and ask ‘what is smoking going to do to us?’” Cindy Denne, director of student health services, said.
“We are just doing whatever pleases us at the time.”
“I started smoking the end of my senior year in high school,” Christopher Contreras, junior international business major, said.
Contreras said that smoking is a social habit and although he has quit in the past, he has recently started smoking again.
“I would like to keep trying to quit. My addicted side says ‘you like it,’ my body says ‘you’re hurting me.’”
Organizations like the American Cancer Society, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Federal Trade Commission provide information and statistics about smoking.
In the FTC cigarette report for 2004-2005 released this year, the data shows that while some spending for advertisements and endorsements has declined, the tobacco industry is still spending millions of dollars to entice new smokers and keep the smokers they already have.
In 2005 the total amount spent on “Domestic Cigarette Advertising and Promotional Expenditures” alone was $13 million.
While the tobacco industry is paying a hefty fee to encourage smoking, the smokers, their families and society as a whole are paying the price.
“We measure the economic burden to be over $96 billion in medical fees and the loss of productivity and dollars in lost wages due to premature death to be $97 billion,” CDC spokesman Joel London said.
Not only is the price paid in monetarily, but with life as well.
Cathy Zech, a sophomore psychology major, lost her father after he developed pulmonary hypertension because of smoking. Zech has chosen not to smoke.
“It was hard on me as a kid. It hurt that as much as he wanted to stop because of me, he couldn’t,” Zech said.
“It is a personal choice, but it’s very dangerous,” Karla-Lenina Cauilan, a sophomore economics major said.
The American Cancer Society recognizes that smoking is an addictive habit and offers programs to help smokers quit.
Nov. 15 marked the annual “Great American Smokeout.” On that day the American Cancer Society encouraged smokers to quit and tried to raise awareness about the dangers of smoking.
The CDC states that smoking is the most preventable cause of premature death.
They are working to help smokers quit and prevent non-smokers from starting.
Some tips for quitting offered by the American Cancer Society are to prepare for life as a nonsmoker, change normal routines, recognize urges and use all available resources.
“Don’t start if you can fight the curiosity,” Contreras said. “If you value your health, you won’t.”
For help quitting call (800) ACS-2345 or visit the Web site www.cancer.org/greatamericans. For more information about smoking visit www.cdc.gov.
Susan Acker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.