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The Impact of Knowledge, Attitude and Social Norm Changes on Cigarette Smoking Behavior in the United States

Seminar Paper 2018 10 Pages

Medicine - Public Health

Excerpt

Introduction

In the United States cigarette smoking among youth and young adults is a prominent public health issue/concern. On this note, health compromising consequences has prompted many schools of thought and government agencies to set up programs that support smoking cessation in the United States. Cigarette smoking is a health compromising behavior because current statistics in the country show that it has resulted into approximately 443,000 premature deaths amongst youth and adults (Rodu & Cole, 2009). Therefore, seminar paper discusses the impact of knowledge, attitude, and social norm changes on cigarette smoking behaviors in the United States.

Background Information

Cigarette smoking is one of the leading causes of premature mortality and preventable morbidity in the world. In an annual basis, cigarette smoking has resulted into approximately 443,000 premature deaths, $193 billion in direct healthcare expenditure, and productivity losses in the United States. Despite the fact that the prevalence of cigarette smoking has declined in both adults and young people, the results have stalled over the past five years among the adults. For instance, in 1991 cigarette smoking among youth was 70.1 percent, 70.4 percent in 1999, 58.4 percent in 2003, and 46.3 percent in 2009. Researchers have attributed this decline in cigarette smoking among youth to social norm change approaches such as reduction in advertising, promotions, and tobacco control programs. Moreover, despite the decline in cigarette smoking, other tobacco uses still persist among different groups such as the ethnic minorities and racial groups (Alaska natives and America Indians) (Brian, Shanta & Michael, 2012).

Each day in the US, there are reported cases of 3900 persons aged between 12 and 17 years who smoke their first cigarette? Again, over 1,000 young adults (adolescents) are daily cigarette smokers. The same research further shows that majority of adolescents who smoke are addicted to nicotine at 20. Some of the contributing factors towards the increase in cigarette smoking among the youth are low socio-economic status, high risk sexual behavior, low academic achievements, gay, lesbian, and transgender community. Among the adults, the contributive factors include racial and ethnic differences. Given the increasing prevalence of cigarette smoking among youth and young adults, there is need to identify some of the highly related factors that support smoking cessation that interventions can target in order to have a society free from unnecessary deaths associated with cigarette smoking. Cross sectional survey in the United States show differences in tobacco prevalence among different demographic categories such as age, sex, and race (Brian, Shanta & Michael, 2012). Figure 1, 2 and 3 show this prevalence in the last five years.

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Figure 1: cigarette smoking among persons above 18 years by sex (Palmersheim, 2005).

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Figure 2 shows cigarette smoking by sex, race, and Hispanic origin (Palmersheim, 2005).

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Figure 3 shows cigarette smoking by race and sex (above 18 years) (Palmersheim, 2005).

Research Findings

Knowledge, attitude, and social norm changes are distinct concepts predicting specific behavioral attention and in predicting behavioral change. Some of the social norm changes such as passing tobacco control policies can help in eliminating the hazardous effects of cigarette smoking among youth and young adults (change smoking behaviors). Enacting such policies to stronger anti-smoking norms can help in reducing tobacco smoking based on the fact that smoking related behaviors are not desirable. People can develop attitudes towards the policy at the population level hence represent change in smoking related social norms. For instance, national smoking prevention policies including increasing cigarette excise taxes, banning smoking in public areas, and educating members of the public on the harmful effects of cigarette smoking can support smoking cessation in the United States. These social norm practices will have positive effects on anti-smoking efforts in the United States (Ashley, 2000). The US government has enacted laws intended to restrict smoking in public places, banned all forms of advertising in social media, and also introduced a smoking age of 18 years and above. In the last ten years, the US total score on tobacco control measures has improved considerably due to high health warnings from the government and other programs. Some of the control measures are increased spending on cigarette control, banning advertisements, ban of public smoking places, and health warnings (Zhang, Cowling & Tang, 2010).

The articles have also highlighted that most of the smokers have low levels of health knowledge implying that if health knowledge is increased in the nation, it would reduce smoking rates for instance, adult rates from minority groups. All the six studies have highlighted that both knowledge and attitude are linked with cigarette smoking in the United States although some of the articles have few large surveys investigating the impact of knowledge and attitude towards smoking cigarettes in the United States (Ashley, 2000).

Findings from the articles further shows that cigarette smoking in the United States is highly associated with sex, age, race, education, alcohol drinking, and knowledge about health problems and attitude towards cigarette smoking. For instance, the subjects who had lower attitude score had a higher risk of cigarette smoking in comparison to subjects who had higher attitude score. This implies that attitude in the United States has a significant impact on smoking cessation. The study further shows that subjects who are young with good health think less of health hazards implying that a large number of youths do not pay attention to the available information on health effects of cigarette smoking, and also exposure to secondhand smoke such as smoking at home (Zhang, Cowling & Tang, 2010). There was also a significant relationship between the subjects who had a low level of education (lower knowledge score) and shown a negative attitude towards smoking (lower attitude score) are more likely to engage in smoking practices. In an agreement with the six articles studied, knowledge of the subjects about smoking practices and attitude towards smoking are significantly associated with increased cigarette smoking in the United States. Interestingly, the articles show that the attitude towards smoking is linked with smoking behaviors even when the subjects adjust to potential confounders. A comparison of the three variables (knowledge, attitude, and social norm changes) shows that the attitude towards smoking in the United States was more strongly associated with cigarette smoking among the youth and adults. This implies that those subjects with more negative attitude towards smoking are more likely to be smokers (Ashley, 2000).

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Details

Pages
10
Year
2018
ISBN (eBook)
9783668692442
ISBN (Book)
9783668692459
File size
512 KB
Language
English
Catalog Number
v423818
Institution / College
Egerton University
Grade
1.6
Tags
impact knowledge attitude social norm changes cigarette smoking behavior united states

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Title: The Impact of Knowledge, Attitude and Social Norm Changes on Cigarette Smoking Behavior in the United States