Social Influences on Smoking Essay

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Social Influences on Smoking

The tobacco industry is important to the economy. In 1991, worldwide tobacco sales exceeded $59.8 billion and in 1992 the industry was rated as one of the top one hundred advertisers (Pechmann and Ratneshwar, 1994). However, there are high prices to pay - socially, economically, and personally - as a result of this industry. Annual mortality figures indicate that cigarette smoking is the number one cause of preventable death in the United States. An estimated 390,000 people die each year of smoke related illnesses, which is greater than the combined mortality for cocaine, crack, AIDS, homicide, suicide, and alcohol abuse (Botvin, G., Baker, Botvin, E., Dusenbury, Cardwell, and Diaz, 1993). This
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Belief refers to the notion that persons who agree to social norms feel it appropriate to abide by them. Thus, they are less likely to engage in deviant behavior. They all have been found to have either a negative or positive influential effect (DeFronzo and Pawlak, 1993). To illustrate, several studies have identified social controls whose absence has caused adolescents to experiment and initiate in tobacco use. Starting at home, the influence of parental attitude and behavior toward adolescent smoking has a major impact on adolescent smoking. Newman and Ward (1989) sampled 735 students from 12 schools in and around one moderately sized Midwestern city, 18.5% of the sample were smokers. In this study, Newman & Ward asked the students questions via a questionnaire in order to rate the parental attitudes. One question asked was, "With regards to my smoking cigarettes, my parents/guardian would: threaten to punish me if I smoked; haven't told me how they feel if I smoke? ; have told me they don't care if I smoke" (Newman and Ward, 1989, p. 150). Two-thirds of the students reported that both parents would be upset if they smoked. An interesting note was that about two-thirds of the nonsmoking adolescents reported parental disapproval versus one-half of the smoking adolescents. The analysis of the data revealed that when neither parent smoked and
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