If all the banned smoking in public spaces didn’t give you a hint that smoking is unhealthy, you would think that all the articles and commercials would. And yet, we still have almost 20% of those surveyed in America admit they are still smoking.
That is over 40% less than in 1965 among adults and among teens, just over 10% admit to smoking. But is it because of health concerns, the cost of smoking, or the increase in taxes?
Health Issues Are No Match
Simply because smoking is less popular, doesn’t eliminate the problems caused by it. Over 400,000 deaths occur each year related to smoking. So, what keeps people motivated to keep smoking? Here are seven of the reasons that are common among smokers:
Smoking has a higher rate among low income class than any other class. Considering the cost of cigarettes and other things associated with smoking, this is regressive behavior. But the numbers don’t lie. Over 25% of those living below the Federal poverty level admit to smoking. Stress is the common variable.
In certain areas, smoking is accepted, and within those area, smoking is often started because of peer pressure. Even with smoking bans in public places and in the workplace, those from those certain areas where smoking is accepted as the norm, will find a place and time to smoke.
Another big part of those that smoke is a lower level of education. Studies have found that over 40% of those surveyed that had a GED or less were more likely to smoke than those who have a high school diploma or higher. This holds hands with the lower income and poverty class. Education play a part in those people not having the information available to them on how to quit smoking.
In 2014, when studies compared those with health insurance and those without, two times as many uninsured smoked as those with insurance This correlate with low income and poverty classes. Lack of education, health insurance, and income all correlate with the people that are most likely to be diagnosed with heart disease, lung disease, or cancer.
Many with mental illness use cigarettes to self-medicate. Why cigarettes? The theory that experts have determined is that smoking makes a person feel better. Smoking impacts the brain by calming the nerves and elevating the mood. This type of self-medication is higher among the lower income and those without health insurance.
In America, you can still purchase cigarettes and not pay taxes on Indian reservations. The cigarettes themselves are less expensive there as well. Both explain why the highest rate of smokers are American Indians or Alaska Natives. The state of New York has increased sales tax the highest of any state and have highest rate of people trying to quit.
It Is Hard
To say I’m going to quit smoking is much easier than following through with quitting. Some of this could be blamed on “weak minds” and no will power. But experts put some blame on the tobacco industry. Today, tobacco is process with an increased amount of nicotine, the addicting part of cigarettes. Trying to quit smoking is akin to trying to scratch that spot you can’t reach on your back.
Any former smoker will tell you that quitting the habit was one of the hardest things they have ever done. It is easier today than it was 20, 30, 40 years ago because we have more tools available to us for help. Tobacco is an addiction and it takes more than just saying “I quit” to follow through.