By Evangelia Petsa,
Health – as it is directly connected to the very life of humans – is the most precious good for him. It is a prerequisite for everything else and a condition for his own happiness. Concern for the protection of physical and mental well-being shows our respect for the supreme value, of human life. However, this value in modern times is threatened by the danger of smoking, particularly prevalent in young groups.
The widespread prevalence of smoking among young people is due to a number of endogenous and exogenous factors. First of all, factors related to their age characteristics. Of course, adolescence is the imaginary line between the end of childhood and the beginning of adulthood. That is why it is accompanied by emotional outbursts that can lead to rebellion with all the negative results for themselves and society.
The reaction of young people becomes more intense because of the crisis that today’s impersonal society is going through at all levels. Since it is main concern is material bliss, it is logical and next to lose the value of humans and turn to the individual. Therefore, young people are unable to resist this model of life and turn to look for easy exits that offer temporary pleasure such as smoking. Contributing to the adoption of such habits is the feeling of constant pressure and stress due to an educational system that exhausts young people.
It is obvious that such a habit as smoking can only have negative consequences. Initially, it is associated with many diseases such as cardiovascular, cancer. According to research, the life expectancy of smokers is decreasing. Long-term exposure to environmental smoke due to smoking is to a lesser extent responsible for health complications but more seriously it makes young people susceptible. Young people frequenting places of entertainment where smoking is allowed likely to be lured into adopting this habit. Of course, smoking also affects the way young people use their free time. So instead of engaging in creative activities such as sports, and cultural activities, they resort to places of entertainment where they can smoke.
No doubt it is also a costly habit. In many cases young people because they smoke secretly are deprived of basic needs from the money that their parents give them in order to save money. It is not rare that they resort to theft even from their own parents. Of course, there is a cost to the State because the costs for medical treatment of people suffering from smoking-related diseases are quite high. Indirect costs also exist from causing forest fires due to the irresponsibility of smokers.
From the above, it can be seen that the fight against smoking with everyone’s cooperation is deemed more necessary than ever. First of all, parents must fulfill their role responsibly. Talking to the child in a calm atmosphere so that he adopts alternative mechanisms of quitting smoking while explaining the reasons why smoking is harmful and focusing on the immediate effects of smoking can help. These consist of bad breath, and the smell of cigarettes in clothes and hair, and this is because these are of interest to young people and not to the long-term which they do not take into account. At the same time, they must encourage young people to participate in sports and cultural activities so that on the one hand they use their time creatively, on the other hand, most of these activities promote or go along with an anti-smoking lifestyle.
The role of the school is also considered very important. In the context of health education programs, schools can invite specialists for valid information on the effects on health as well as on a mental, social and economic level. In the same direction, the organization of an anti-smoking week with a projection of a related video will contribute, as well as the creation and distribution of printed materials on smoking to students and teachers. At the same time, it is important to promote and strengthen a healthy lifestyle through the emphasis on sports activities so that young people can channel their energy into constructive pursuits and feel fulfilled. Teachers themselves must be an example to the students by avoiding being exposed to smoking in front of them. Also smoking students should not be dealt with strictly in the sense that they are committing an offense that warrants punishment, but in the form of advice so that they understand the seriousness of that harmful habit both for themselves and for their classmates who may be lured into adopting smoking.
Given that prevention is more effective than treatment, the State must focus it is efforts in this direction. On the occasion of World Anti-Tobacco Day, events can be organized to enlighten the public, give the opportunity to address questions to specialized personnel, and set up structures in public places for free preventive examinations by pulmonologists. But also the determination to comply with the legislative regulations concerning smoking is deemed necessary. In this direction, it is advisable to strengthen the prohibitions on advertising and indirect promotion of tobacco products, improve the effectiveness of warning labels on cigarette packages, to observe the law on the prohibition of smoking in public places. The cooperation of the relevant Ministry with voluntary organizations such as the anti-smoking movement with the aim of raising awareness and strengthening the implementation of existing legislation will also be helpful.
In conclusion, smoking is a part of a more general framework of education that distinguishes a society as a whole and is a sign of respect for ourselves and for our fellow man. Only under this consideration can we resist the onslaught of advertising and artful promotion of cigarettes.