Research paper on smoking cigarettes
Since 1994, multiple legal and scientific developments have altered the tobacco control environment and thus have affected smoking among youth. The states and the U.S. Department of Justice brought lawsuits against cigarette companies, with the result that many internal documents of the tobacco industry have been made public and have been analyzed and introduced into the science of tobacco control. Also, the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement with the tobacco companies resulted in the elimination of billboard and transit advertising as well as print advertising that directly targeted underage youth and limitations on the use of brand sponsorships. This settlement also created the American Legacy Foundation, which implemented a nationwide antismoking campaign targeting youth. In 2009, the U.S. Congress passed a law that gave the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authority to regulate tobacco products in order to promote the public’s health. Certain tobacco companies are now subject to regulations limiting their ability to market to young people. In addition, they have had to reimburse state governments (through agreements made with some states and the Master Settlement Agreement) for some health care costs. Due in part to these changes, there was a decrease in tobacco use among adults and among youth following the Master Settlement Agreement, which is documented in this current report.
Recent Surgeon General Reports Addressing Youth Issues
Other reports of the Surgeon General since 1994 have also included major conclusions that relate to tobacco use among youth. In 1998, the report focused on tobacco use among U.S. racial/ethnic minority groups and noted that cigarette smoking among Black and Hispanic youth increased in the 1990s following declines among all racial/ethnic groups in the 1980s; this was particularly notable among Black youth, and culturally appropriate interventions were suggested. In 2000, the report focused on reducing tobacco use. A major conclusion of that report was that school-based interventions, when implemented with community- and media-based activities, could reduce or postpone the onset of smoking among adolescents by 20–40%. That report also noted that effective regulation of tobacco advertising and promotional activities directed at young people would very likely reduce the prevalence and onset of smoking. In 2001, the Surgeon General’s report focused on women and smoking. Besides reinforcing much of what was discussed in earlier reports, this report documented that girls were more affected than boys by the desire to smoke for the purpose of weight control. Given the ongoing obesity epidemic, the current report includes a more extensive review of research in this area.
The 2004 Surgeon General’s report on the health consequences of smoking concluded that there is sufficient evidence to infer that a causal relationship exists between active smoking and (a) impaired lung growth during childhood and adolescence; (b) early onset of decline in lung function during late adolescence and early adulthood; (c) respiratory signs and symptoms in children and adolescents, including coughing, phlegm, wheezing, and dyspnea; and (d) asthma-related symptoms (e.g., wheezing) in childhood and adolescence. The 2004 Surgeon General’s report further provided evidence that cigarette smoking in young people is associated with the development of atherosclerosis.
The 2010 Surgeon General’s report on the biology of tobacco focused on the understanding of biological and behavioral mechanisms that might underlie the pathogenicity of tobacco smoke. Although there are no specific conclusions in that report regarding adolescent addiction, it does describe evidence indicating that adolescents can become dependent at even low levels of consumption. Two studies (; ) referenced in that report suggest that because the adolescent brain is still developing, it may be more susceptible and receptive to nicotine than the adult brain.
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