The World Health Organization (WHO) has developed The Tobacco Atlas, which is intended for anyone concerned with personal or political health, governance, politics, economics, big business, corporate behavior, smuggling, tax, religion, internet, allocation of resources, human development and the future. The Tobacco Atlas says that smoking has been portrayed by its sellers as a manly, masculine habit, linked to health, happiness, fitness, wealth, power and sexual success. In reality, it leads to sickness, premature death and sexual problems. Almost one billion men in the world smoke – about 35% of men in developed countries and 50% of men in developing countries. Trends in both developed and developing countries show that male smoking rates have now peaked and, slowly but surely, are declining. However, this is an extremely slow trend over decades, and in the meantime men are dying in their millions from tobacco. In general, the educated man is giving up the habit first, so that smoking is becoming a habit of poorer, less educated males.
So if smoking is such a big problem, how can we help to prevent it?
In A Report of the Surgeon General, Preventing Tobacco Use Among Young People, the U.S. Department of Human Resources, the CDC, Public Health Service, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Office on Smoking and Health, discuss the issue of adolescent smoking. This report focuses on the vulnerable adolescents ages 10-18, when most users start smoking, chewing, or dipping and become addicted to tobacco. Smoking kills 434,000 Americans each year. Adolescent smoking and tobacco use are the first steps in this totally preventable tragedy. One out of every three adolescents are using tobacco by age 18. Most of the U.S. public strongly favors policies that might prevent tobacco use among young people. These policies include mandated tobacco education in schools, a complete ban on smoking by anyone on school grounds, further restrictions on tobacco advertising and promotional activities, stronger prohibitions on the sale of tobacco products to minors, and increases in earmarked taxes on tobacco products. Interventions to prevent initiation among young people–even actions that involve restrictions on adult smoking or increased taxes-have received strong support among smoking and nonsmoking adults.
This is a huge issue among men, that if changed, will greatly impact the health of millions. I feel that if we can reach out and affect a few individuals at a time, that the impact will have a domino affect as loved ones and friends encourage each other to quick smoking, or to never begin smoking.