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Epidemiology & Population Health: Briefing or Discussion Paper - Essay Example

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Epidemiology and Population Health Briefing on Smoking in Adolescents in Australia {Your Name} {Date} 1. Main Messages Smoking prevalence is on the rise in the entire world as well as Australia; One of the hardest hit groups of population is young people who under the influence of peer pressure and the media tend to take up smoking; The inclusion of nicotine in tobacco makes it a very addictive substance; The adoption of smoking at an early age produces tobacco users who find it very difficult to quit smoking in their later years; Smoking produces more casualties than alcohol and illicit drug use combined; Controlling smoking is the number one method of inc…
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Epidemiology & Population Health: Briefing or Discussion Paper
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Epidemiology & Population Health: Briefing or Discussion Paper

2. Executive Summary The use of tobacco in adolescents remains a key focus area for improving public health. People who have begun to smoke at an early age generally find it far more difficult to quit smoking. There is an increased urge for students to begin smoking during their adolescent years with 19.1% of school students indicating that they could begin smoking next year. Moreover around 9.5% of the students in developed countries are already smoking. (MMWR, 2008) An estimate has placed tobacco smoking as the single most preventable cause of death and ill health in Australia. Smoking causes more hospitalisation than the consumption of alcohol and the use of illicit drugs combined. Major problems resulting from smoking include coronary heart disease, stroke, peripheral vascular disease as well as cancer and the use of smoking every day only exacerbates the problem. (Homer, 2010) In terms of the Australian population, the Aborigines display smoking prevalence of 50% compared to 23% for the non-Aboriginal population. (Trewin, 2006) In Australia around 35% of the population suffers from common mental disorders while 60% of the people with schizophrenia smoke. (Jablensky et al., 1999) Smoking is generally utilised as a way of dealing with feelings like anxiety, stress and boredom but nicotine in cigarettes is physically addictive. The largest groups put at risk in Australia due to smoking are the homeless, young people, schizophrenics, Aboriginal people as well as low income single parents. Furthermore, people from lower socio-economic backgrounds have greater smoking rates than the general public. (Siapush et al., 2005) People from groups with multiple disadvantages have the greatest risk of smoking. (Baker et al., 2005) This evidence indicates that smoking is a major public health problem and that most people begin smoking at an early age and then find smoking hard to quit. The consequences of smoking on public health entail a large cost and active strategies need to be implemented in order to discourage smoking especially amongst young people particularly adolescents. 2.1. Techniques for Discouraging Smoking A review of the available literature reveals that multiple techniques have been employed to discourage the use of smoking in adolescents. These techniques have included increasing the price of tobacco through federal duties, keeping the price of tobacco equal between different states and territories, community intervention, promotion of healthier activities through schools and the use of the mass media. (Brinn et al., 2011) The use of the mass media has been seen as an effective and highly encouraging method to dissuade smoking in young people. It has been suggested that the mass media be used as a tool for building up the image of non-smokers and this should be reinforced by ... Read More
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