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Health Promoting Young Adult Smokers Essay

2292 words - 10 pages

Health promotion is of great importance to nursing because it has long been acknowledged in nursing literature as fundamental to health care. A dramatic increase in chronic lifestyle diseases has prompted an emphasis on health promotion (Egger et al, 1990). Health promotion can be defined as the process of enabling people to increase control over their health and to improve their health WHO (1986) cited in (Bright, 1997).

However, health promotion is commonly confused with health education and yet health education, is an instrument in health promotion together with health protection and illness prevention. Without knowledge people cannot make healthy choices about their lifestyles ...view middle of the document...

According to research, eighty two percent of smokers take up the habit in their teenage years and the high rate of young smokers eventually filters through into adult smoking rates. In the United Kingdom, 120 000 deaths occur every year due to smoking related illnesses and that accounts for one fifth of all deaths per year (Richardson and Sowden, 2000). Smoking has been identified as a major risk for coronary heart disease, the leading cause of lung cancer and some respiratory complications such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (Richardson and Sowden, 2000).

The government produced a white paper, Smoking Kills, which targets to reduce the prevalence of smoking among young people (DOH, 1998). The government currently spends seventeen million pounds on anti-smoking campaigns and a further twenty million pounds on measures to help people stop smoking. On the other hand, smoking contributes more than ten billion pounds to government revenue each year (Naidoo and Wills, 2001). Perhaps most significant of all are the sums smoking contributes to government revenue. Therefore, it can be said that preventing and reducing smoking among young people presents a great challenge to health promotion. This is supported by ( Percival and Gough,2001) who say there have been intense efforts in the past three decades to reduce the prevalence of cigarette smoking but, smoking continues to be a critical public health problem

That said, in order to clearly identify the health promotion needs, it is important to consider that smoking is a personal behaviour and complex issue in which many different psychological, social, physiological and economic factors interact. This is supported by Webb (1997) who says peer pressure, parental attitudes and poor discrimination of media images can affect decisions in negative ways. In another perspective, research suggests that self-esteem, self-confidence and personal autonomy are important factors which influence conformity to peer pressure (van-Teijlingen et al, 1995). It is also understood that young adults say that they know very well that smoking is dangerous but they smoke because it resolves immediate social and psychological problems (MacDonald, 1998). However, they may only have superficial knowledge of the dangers of smoking therefore it is important for health promotion to come in with accurate information.

The identified needs of the young adult smokers are knowledge about the effects of smoking on health, empowerment, support for behaviour change and supportive social environment. These identified needs fall in the category of normative needs because they have been defined by the health promoter (Perkins et al, 1999).

The challenge for health promotion is to address the identified needs and factors surrounding smoking in the target group. This is supported by (Naidoo and Wills, 2002) who say understanding and addressing the needs and those factors which are beyond the control of individual...

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