The Risk of Teenagers Smoking, Research Paper Example
Words: 3102Research Paper
Smoking is a significant public health concern in the United States, with millions of people affected by the harmful effects of tobacco use. Although, smoking rates have drastically reduced over the years, teenagers remain vulnerable. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), at least 11.3% of middle and high school students reported using two or more tobacco products in 2022 (United States Food and Drug Administration, 2022). In the long term, teenage smoking can seriously affect overall health and well-being. For instance, it has been linked to numerous diseases, including cancer, heart disease, stroke, and respiratory illnesses such as emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Further, it can lead to premature aging and skin, teeth, and gum damage. Additionally, teenage smoking impacts brain development and heightens the probability of mental health problems such as depression and anxiety. This research aims to discuss different elements to facilitate reduction of teenage smoking in the long-term in Milwaukee city. Therefore, it will include, community definition, windshield survey, community assessment, community partners and resources, factors that contribute to increased teenage smoking, interventions to reduce the rates of smoking and measures to evaluate effectiveness of the intervention.
A community is a collection of neighbors with shared identities and interests who live close to one another. They may or may not partake in life experiences shaped by the environment surrounding them beyond their residence. The community I identified was that living in Sherman Park neighborhood in Milwaukee city.
The Sherman Park neighborhood was identified as an area of interest. The neighborhood is an urban area because it is densely populated with different amenities, including a hospital, public transit, a grocery store, and many other businesses. During the survey, it was noted that crime rates were high in the neighborhood. The community is highly littered and people use public transit vehicles and electric scooters to go between locations. Further, the areas had no visible leisure activities that adolescents can participate in during their leisure time, which can be a probable cause of the high teenage smoking and crimes. The community has one hospital called St. Joseph, which is used for stabilization before referring them to Froedtert, a level one trauma center. Overall, there is shortage of resources and high crime rates.
The community identified is the city of Milwaukee in Wisconsin County, which is located on the west side of Lake Michigan. In the city, the summers are mild; the winters are frigid, snowy, and windy; and it is partially overcast year-round. The average annual temperature ranges from 18°F to 81°F, seldom falling below 0°F or rising over 90°F (ClimateCheck, n.d.). The approximate area of Milwaukee city is 96.2 square miles, with a total population of 555,640 in 2023 (Milwaukee Population (2023), n.d). The community on Milwaukee’s northwest side comprises African-Americans, Hmong, and first-generation immigrants. Overall, the city is inhabited by mixed races, with 39.9% and 39.4% whites and African-Americans, respectively. In this city, many deaths are caused by diabetes, heart disease, and respiratory infections. These diseases are caused by excessive substance abuse, such as tobacco smoking.
The city focuses on issues that are significant to its community and provides possibilities for employment, medical care resources, educational opportunities, recreational activities, and housing and commercial options. Many people may find navigating the inner city and other urban areas challenging, so extra services for the communities have been set up. Community centers have been placed to be as accessible to the neighborhood residents as possible. Now more community clinics are either nearby or only require a small number of bus transfers. Moreover, different organizations in the city, such as Milwaukee Recreation, give community members services at extremely low costs and grants and scholarships to low-income families to ensure their children’s participation. These programs are crucial to help those in need because a sizable portion of the population lives in poverty. Therefore, despite having minimal resources at its disposal, the community makes efforts to help the people in need. However, there is a need to implement more creative initiatives to improve the lives of the community living in the area.
Adolescents between 12-19 years of age were exposed to the community smoking risk. Teenage smoking has been on the rise in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Several adolescents have been hospitalized with smoking-related adverse lung disease (Rezaei, 2019). In 2019, 22%, which is 6 of high school students from Wisconsin, were identified to be using any tobacco product, with 5.7% smoking cigarettes (CDC, 2022). This high rate is concerning because it can lead to multiple health risks caused by smoking.
Factors that Lead to Increased Smoking Rates in Milwaukee
It was identified that various factors contributed to the increased rates of smoking. First, they have limited knowledge of the risks of smoking. Lack of awareness of the adverse effects of tobacco has increased the smoking rates in Milwaukee, which can lead to addiction and a lifelong habit that is difficult to quit (James et al., 2021). Further, inadequate knowledge leads to a lack of motivation to quit smoking or make lifestyle changes that reduce their risk of smoking-related illnesses. Second, the city has limited access to resources to help teenagers quit smoking. Individuals lacking access to social resources and programs are more likely to smoke. For instance, the community lacks enough society programs that help teenagers stay active and prevent idleness, thus, increasing the risk of smoking. Additionally, the community lacks enough resources to support teenagers struggling with smoking to ensure they follow an effective process to quit the behavior. Fourth, teenagers lack adequate skills to resist peer pressure that encourages them to engage in smoking. Therefore, teenagers smoke to gain acceptance and validity from their friends. Fifth, easy access to tobacco in the area has increased the teenage smoking rate. In this city, it is easier to access tobacco than medical care and healthy food (Community Advocates, n.d.). These factors have increased the risk of smoking among teenagers in Milwaukee.
Lastly, marketing and advertisement can significantly impact smoking rates among teenagers. The tobacco industry spends billions of dollars annually on advertising and promotion, using various tactics to target young people. These tactics may include creating appealing packaging, using celebrities or influencers to promote their products, and sponsoring events or activities that are popular with teenagers. Advertising can create a perception that smoking is a normal or desirable behavior and make it seem like smoking is an important part of growing up (Emery et al., 2022). The tobacco industry also uses advertising to create a sense of rebellion or independence associated with smoking, which can be particularly appealing to teenagers seeking to assert their independence. Research has shown that tobacco advertising and promotion exposure is associated with increased smoking initiation rates among teenagers (Emery et al., 2022). The increased risk of smoking can be reduced through various partnerships and use of community resources
Community Partners and Resources
Butterflyz LLC is a company committed to providing different services to help teenagers within Milwaukee City by empowering them to be committed members of the community. These programs aim at reducing the rate of teenage smoking within the community. Some programs offered are art therapy, culinary arts, physical fitness, Healthy relationships group, and photography (Butterflyz LLC, n.d). These programs engage teenagers to ensure they do not participate in smoking activities. Further, the program educates teenagers on the risks of tobacco smoking. Through an interview with Theresa Morgan, the organization’s Program Director, it was established that the facility collaborates with different community partners to ensure they offer services that help reduce teenage smoking rates. For instance, the organization partners with local schools, public health agencies, and other community-based organizations to ensure they raise awareness of the potential adverse effects of smoking.
Butterflyz LLC Program Goals and Objectives
- Youths will gain comprehensive knowledge of the side effects of smoking.
- Youths in this program will replace smoking activities with athletic, art, or music activities.
- 50% of the teenagers in the program will be aware of the adverse effects of smoking within the next 12 months.
Different interventions will be undertaken to reduce the risk and rates of smoking among teenagers in Butterflyz LLC and achieve the project goals. The first intervention is to increase awareness regarding the effects of tobacco smoking through education among teenagers. This intervention will be facilitated through the organization’s collaboration with local schools to create informative presentations and workshops to educate students about the dangers of tobacco smoking. For example, a 10-minute PowerPoint presentation that depicts the risks of smoking will be provided to the students. This educational session was carried out during break time session through the help of teachers. The students were notified through posters displayed in each classroom to ensure that each student assembles to gain meaningful knowledge on the negative impacts of tobacco smoking. Health risks, such as respiratory diseases, heart disease, stroke, and cancer, are the significant effects of smoking discussed during this session (Labaki & Han, 2020). Further, the students will be asked to provide a vision board that prohibits smoking with pictures showing teenagers deteriorated physical health due to increased smoking rates. These boards will help raise awareness of the dangers associated with smoking among teenagers.
Further, using television and radio advertisements will help educate teenagers on the dangers of smoking (Emery et al., 2022). The television advertisement will involve a short cartoon video describing the health risks of smoking among teenagers. This video will be used because it is appealing to teenagers, thus, increasing their engagement and attention. As a result, the message will be communicated clearly and engagingly. The video will be played before a major teenage television program begins. Further, the radio advertisement will involve a short hip-hop song to assist in passing message of the effects of smoking. These measures will be implemented through the help of major television channels and radio stations. These advertisements will play a key role in educating teenagers on the dangers of smoking.
The second intervention is to provide resources and support to teenagers willing to quit smoking. This intervention will be implemented by partnering with local health organizations to offer free smoking cessation programs and hotlines. For instance, free professional counseling services will be provided to teenagers willing to quit smoking (Liu et al., 2020). These services will be provided in partnership with the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD). Further, nicotine replacement therapy will be introduced in these healthcare centers. This therapy will involve the provision of gums, patches, sprays, inhalers, or lozenges to minimize withdrawal symptoms associated with smoking (Pajai et al., 2023). This therapy is useful for teenagers who find it challenging to quit smoking due to addiction.
Additionally, peer support groups are an essential resource that allows teenagers to share their recovery process from smoking, thus, encouraging those going through the same process (Bliuc et al., 2020). This session involved a series of question and answer to help the participants understand how to overcome smoking addiction. At the end of each meeting, the teenagers were provided with well-designed brochures indicating smoking facts and risks. These brochures aimed to communicate the health impacts of tobacco. These programs were provided to all the adolescents enrolled in Butterflyz LLC program to implement this intervention. They were notified through posters distributed across the city to create awareness of the ongoing free programs to help alleviate the effects of smoking among teenagers. This intervention will be implemented throughout the year to facilitate better understanding among the teenagers. This intervention increased awareness among adolescents to help reduce the smoking rates in Milwaukee City.
The third intervention was creating a mentorship program to help the adolescents engage in different activities that help them become productive members of society (McQuillin et al., 2022). The mentors in these programs were former smokers who had gone through the process of quitting and were living a healthier lifestyle. Further, the participants engaged in culinary, music, physical fitness, and photography activities. These activities provided alternative healthy and engaging ways for teenagers to occupy their time and energy (Cristello et al., 2020). These activities helped reduce stress, boost self-esteem, and provide a sense of accomplishment, which immensely reduced the likelihood of turning to smoking as a coping mechanism. Participants were offered branded t-shirts on no smoking to help them educate others around the community in the long-term to stop smoking behavior. To implement this intervention, an online post was circulated through social media platforms on the availability of free mentorship programs for all adolescents. This intervention was implemented in Butterlyz LLC to ensure that many participants committed to the process. The intervention will continue throughout the year to ensure many adolescents stay active.
The project’s objectives and goals have been achieved by implementing the above interventions. At the beginning of the project, there were few participants due to a lack of awareness of the ongoing programs. However, as time progressed, the number of participants drastically increased, allowing a wider group of people to engage. All the short-term goals were achieved within the first few months. For instance, within the first month, at least 80% of the youth in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, had gained comprehensive knowledge of the side effects of smoking. This short-term goal was evaluated by comparing the pre-intervention and post-intervention surveys. These surveys will be used in the long term to establish the project’s success by measuring the percentage of teenagers who have gained knowledge regarding the adverse effects of smoking. A 95% increase rate will depict the success of the project.
The second short-term goal, which is to ensure youths replace smoking activities with athletics, was successfully accomplished. Towards the end of the project, at least 87% of the adolescents within the city were participating in athletic sports, thus, reducing their smoking habits. The goal was evaluated through self-report surveys and interviews conducted among the participants to achieve these statistics. The acquired results were compared to baseline data to determine the project’s success. The results indicated that the permanent implementation of the youth athletic programs in the city would have favorable implications within the community in the long term.
The long-term goal is to improve knowledge on the adverse impacts of smoking among 50% of teenagers within the next 12 months is still ongoing. The results will be measured after 12 months to establish the adolescents’ awareness of the risks of smoking. The goal will be evaluated by conducting interviews and focus groups to understand the project’s impact on creating awareness of the effects of tobacco smoking.
Project Implication and Limitations
This project has various implications and limitations. First, it will lead to a reduced risk of addiction. Adolescence is a critical period for brain development, and nicotine addiction can have long-term effects on the brain. By reducing smoking rates among adolescents, there is a lower risk of addiction and the associated negative consequences. As a result, it may result in fewer people developing a nicotine addiction, which could have long-term advantages for the general public’s health. Since teenagers who smoke are more likely to experience a number of health issues, this will also enhance health outcomes. By reducing smoking rates among adolescents, there is a potential for significant improvements in public health outcomes. Consequently, the project will mitigate smoking-related deaths and the prevalence of smoking-related illnesses. Lastly, the project will improve academic performance because smoking among adolescents has been linked to poor academic performance. Adolescents will focus on their studies by reducing smoking rates, leading to improved educational outcomes. As a result, it can minimize the achievement gap between smokers and non-smokers. These implications will impact the Milwaukee community positively.
Despite the positive impacts, the research had various limitations. First, self-report bias exists because the research depended on self-reported data from the participants. This data may not be accurate or truthful because the participants may overreport or underreport their smoking habits. Second, the study covered a limited scope, which may not be an exclusive representation of all the adolescents in Milwaukee City. For instance, the study concentrated on smoking habits among youths in Butterflyz LLC.
Teenage smoking rates are high within Milwaukee City. Different teenagers have been hospitalized with smoking-health-related problems. Butterflyz LLC, in collaboration with other organizations, has helped provide different services and programs to the affected parties to help them quit smoking. This project implemented interventions to facilitate teenagers’ awareness of the risks associated with smoking. Further, professionals offered nicotine replacement therapy and counseling services in healthcare facilities to help teenagers willing to quit smoking recover. Additionally, the teenagers were provided mentorship programs led by members who initially smoked and recovered to encourage them. Later they participated in different healthy activities to help them divert their energy and attention from smoking. This project will have positive long-term health impacts on teenagers. For instance, it will lead to improved health outcomes among the teenagers even in their old age. Therefore, the project will result to extensive benefits among the teenagers.
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