Smoking Amongst Youths In Fiji
The use of tobacco has been noted as one of the major causes of various disabilities and premature deaths worldwide. It is also the fourth most common risk factor for the increase of NCDs worldwide (Kumar, 2017). Over the past years, Fiji has noted the prevalence of smoking amongst the young adults. In this writing, I will use the biopsychosocial model of health in reference to smoking amongst adolescents since it explores the various details under these main factors; social, biological and psychological. To understand the relevance, it is important to know the basic meaning of health and the biopsychosocial model. The World Health Organization (WHO) officially defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental, and social-wellbeing, not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”. However, I would define health as being of a fit physical and stable mental body and/or state and having the ability to recover from any sort of illness or disease. The biopsychosocial model of health aims to discover the various interactions between biological, psychological, and social factors in determining health. It is the heart of the future healthcare systems since it connects the body, mind, and environment as a whole which dependently affects each other. An essay based on the model (Biomedical and Biopsychosocial Models of Healthcare, 2018) elaborates that the health habits of an individual can be understood in social and psychosocial contexts, for instance, the recovery of a sick individual can be influenced by psychological, biological and social factors.
To begin with, the regular cigarette use can be seen more and more in children, and to understand the reasons behind this we must investigate various social factors that influence teenagers to start smoking. In the 2016 Fiji Global School-based Health Survey, it was clearly noted that the percentage of school students from ages of 13 to 17 years who currently smoke cigarette stood at 12.2% with males higher at 17.1% and females 7.1% (Singh, 2017). Some of the reasons for smoking from a very young age begin from home. Children tend to become smokers if they see their parents or older siblings smoking as they often idolize them, and this could be due to the constant smell and irritation caused by the smoke or parents encouraging their children to smoke. Also, school and peer groups can be classified as another influence of smoking from a young age. This is evident, usually, when teenagers begin their secondary and/or tertiary education as peer pressure and other environmental influences, such as parties and clubbing, become greatly irresistible and the younger kids join the group of much older children. For instance, nowadays many kids in school smoke in groups after school, and collect money and share the cigarette. This occurrence can also be seen amongst kids who want to seem cool or display a form of rebellion against authority. In a journal article (Waqa, McCool, Snowdon, & Freeman, 2015) it was quoted, “sometimes it starts from the parents, parents who smoke in front of their kids think that it’s ok to smoke but sometimes it’s about peer pressure when you get into wrong groups they want to do wrong things so they can be famous and they force you to do it and sometimes you think your being forced you think that you will become famous.” Thus, there is apparent influence of smoking starting from home and induced by peer pressure.
Moreover, in terms of psychological factors I believe that the earlier teenagers start smoking, the higher the chances or percentage of them to continue smoking throughout their lives. It is a highly known belief that just a few amount of substance would require for any adult or individual to be completely “hooked”. In comparison to children, the regular use of cigarette or smoking would be enough to display symptoms of nicotine dependence and/or addiction such as cravings, depressed mood, irritability, frustration, anxiety, and difficulty in concentrating, restlessness and the loss of control on their behaviors (withdrawal symptoms) when going through a certain period without having a smoke (Crofton & Simpson, 2002). In family gatherings, my friends and family would often say that smoking makes them feel relaxed, in terms of dealing with schoolwork, while at the same time it makes them feel good about themselves as it’s their way of coping with stress, anxiety and depression. Alternatively, for some it has become a daily habit that is hard to let go of. As such, nicotine from cigarettes proves to be very highly addictive with temporary effects that would require regular fixations.
Lastly, a number of chemicals have been identified in tobacco smoke of which many are known to be radioactive and poisonous. These chemicals have short and long term effects on the body system. Some short-term risks of teenage smoking are tooth loss, frequent fever or colds, chronic coughing, decreased lung function (shortness of breath), faster heart rate, and hearing and vision problems. Consequently, the long term risks include increased risk of heart disease, chronic lung disease, and many kinds of cancer. Likewise, passive smoking or secondhand smoke poses an equally dangerous threat to one’s health. As a result, teenage smoking does not only harm their own health but also of the people around them.[bookmark: _gjdgxs]In a brief summary, the biopsychosocial model has helped me to reflect my opinions from certain journals or articles and portray the details of smoking among the young people in relevance to the social, psychological (mental) and social factors. It is of high significance that public, parents and the youth themselves are aware, alert and put serious thought and consideration into the dangers or consequences and influences that surround the topic and issue of early childhood smoking. For the most part, I believe that cigarettes, despite it being a legal product, would cause ensuing death even if it’s used for what it is intended for or abused, the prime factor is to stop and/or quit as soon as possible and get help for recovery.
- Biomedical and Biopsychosocial Models of Healthcare. (2018, November ). Retrieved from Essays, UK: https://www.ukessays.com/essays/psychology/biomedical-biopsychosocial-models-6132.php
- Crofton, J., & Simpson, D. (2002). Tobacco: A Global Threat. California: Macmillan.
- Kumar, A. (2017, June 1st). Young Adults Make Up Highest Number of Smokers in Fiji. Retrieved from Fiji Sun: https://fijisun.com.fj/2017/06/01/young-adults-make-up-highest-number-of-smokers-in-fiji/
- Singh, S. (2017, May 31st). 12.2% students from age of 13 to 17 years smoke cigarette – O’Connor. Retrieved from Fiji Village: https://fijivillage.com/news/122-students-from-age-of-13-to-17-years-smoke-cigarette—OConnor-52rsk9
- Waqa, G., McCool, J., Snowdon, W., & Freeman, B. (2015). Behaviour Change in Public Health: Evidence and Implications. Adolescents Perceptions of Pro- and Antitobacco Imagery and Marketing: Qualitative Study of Students from Suva, Fiji, 7.
- WHO. (n.d.). World Health Organization. Retrieved from World Health Organization: https://www.who.int/about/who-we-are/constitution