In contemporary society smoking has become one of its indispensable attributes. As a social phenomenon it affects various fields of human activity, not to mention the health of a smoker him/herself.
Smoking is actually the social and public phenomenon and not a personal business of a smoking individual (as some of the smokers are trying to justify their habit and this opinion is sometimes maintained by cigarette producers), as far as tobacco smoke is ignorant of any obstacles and apart from a smoker it is inhaled by other people surrounding this smoker. The deleterious effects experienced by a passive smoker include eye irritation, headache, cough, sore throat, dizziness and nausea. Adults with asthma can experience a significant decline in lung function when exposed, while new cases of asthma may be induced in children whose parents smoke. Short term exposure to tobacco smoke also has a measurable effect on the heart in non-smokers. Just 30 minutes exposure is enough to reduce coronary blood flow.
Another case when smoking is not merely the business of a smoker is smoking by pregnant women. In such case any women is responsible for the health and life of another human being and cannot make any precipitate decisions as taking up smoking.
Women, who smoke during pregnancy, often suffer from nightmares of having a stillborn baby, are very likely to suffer a miscarriage, or to deliver a low birth-weight baby. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (or SIDS, for short), that means the condition in which in outward appearance healthy baby dies unexpectedly during sleep, occurs twice as often in children born to mothers who smoke during pregnancy.
Cigarette dependence is an element which is going to accompany smoker till the end of his/her life. This is caused by the property of tobacco which is highly addictive. Juveniles, who are just “experimenting”, do not notice the moment when they become dependent on cigarettes. One-third of young people who are just “entertaining” in this way end up being addicted by the time they are 20.
Concerning the smoking by young people one should note it involves some particular dangers. Youth’s bodies are permanently changing and developing. Thousands of chemicals (including about 200 poisons) in tobacco smoke can adversely affect this process. Unfortunately, smoking among youths is often treated as an accentuation of their prestige. Probably exactly this evil belief is related to that it is not approved by adults. Performing the things which are not approved by adults in at young age is often interpreted as a feature of strong personality who never agrees his/her actions with the desires of others.
Certain role in such interpretation of smoking among young people is played by the commercials and television. The commercials are always creating the image of smoking as a light entertainment. A smoker, usually, is depicted as a person who enjoys wide popularity among the opposite sex. It is obvious that an adult person has developed due to life experience certain immunity against such image of a smoker; however young people conceive commercials as reality. The ban of commercials dealing with cigarettes seems to be fairly appropriate step towards the reduction of popularity of smoking among youths.
Statistical data of Minnesota Student Survey conducted by Minnesota Department of
Children, Families and Learning among the 9-grade in 2001, revealed that smoking among youths and social/personal behavior are strongly correlated, smoking and emotional distress are highly related too. Students who smoke are more likely than non-smokers to report feelings of stress, sadness, anxiety and hopelessness.
And finally the fact that the death rate of smokers is considerably higher than that of non-smokers testifies that tobacco producing companies, to put it mildly, present the unfeasible image of a smoker in their commercials. Actually a smoker far often suffers different personal and social troubles than non-smoker that is why one cannot but admit that smoking is a social troubling phenomenon with which we must struggle.