The Social, Cultural, and Political Factors that Contribute to Cigarette Smoking Among Adolescents in the United States

Andrew Reddy

Although smoking is now mostly considered a negative activity in American culture, there have been several factors contributing to an increase in smoking behavior among adolescents. The emergence of electronic cigarettes threatens to reverse the progress made by anti-smoking advocates because of the political, social, and cultural factors that contribute to smoking behavior, such as the policies that fail to rigorously regulate e-cigarette sales to minors, peer and familial influence, and residing in a lower socioeconomic environment. Although all groups in the socioeconomic hierarchy are negatively affected by the presence of tobacco products in our markets, lower socioeconomic groups have been found to have the worst health outcomes due to the overwhelming stress that comes with trying to sustain living. This stress introduces these groups to negative health outcomes through smoking behavior in attempts to cope with financial and environmental hardships. When the current adolescent groups were examined, it was seen that it is culturally more acceptable to smoke electronic cigarettes rather than conventional cigarettes because of the perceived risk that they are a safer alternative. To prevent the influence of smoking behavior, rigorous laws need to be implemented that regulate e-cigarettes to prevent future traditional cigarette smokers.


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