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psychological and social influences As more of us become aware of the dangers of smoking, the percentage of smokers in the UK has fallen from around 50 per cent of the population in the 1950s to 20 per cent in 2011.
Even with this fall in the number of smokers, it's estimated that there were 1.6 million hospital admissions with a smoking related diagnosis in 2011/12. In the UK, smoking is responsible for around one in five deaths. The illnesses caused by smoking extend beyond the well reported links with cancer, heart disease and respiratory illnesses. Smoking can cause impotence, ulcers and fertility problems and it doesn't just harm smokers. Passive smoking causes lung cancer and is linked to cot death, low birth weight, glue ear and asthma in children. In the last 10 years has only reduced by 7 per cent. Since the 'Smoking Ban' came into effect in the UK 2006/7 smoking in the UK has reduced by only 1 per cent. In the meantime some groups for instance women and in some countries, eg China, smoking is increasing. The good news is that about 70 per cent of smokers say they want to quit. Yet success rates for quit attempts are between 10 and 20 per cent. This article looks at some of the psychological and social barriers that smokers face. The problem starts in childhoodMost smokers first start experimenting with cigarettes in their teens: louis vuitton shoes usa in the UK only 0.5 per cent per cent of 11 year olds smoke regularly. Bythe age of 15, this number has risen to 10 per cent, with girls more likely louis vuitton purses 35 to smoke than boys. Being female, being older and also taking part in other risky behaviours (drinking alcohol, drug use, truancy) are all predictive of smoking initiation. A Scottish study of teenage girls found that smoking waspart of an image cultivated by the girls who were seen as leaders of their groups. Smoking is more than a simple habitHealth psychology looks at the complex array of biological, social and psychological factors that influence our health and illness related behaviour. Smoking is a biological addiction, with nicotine as addictive as cocaine and heroin. However, there is more to being hooked on cigarettes than the physical addiction to nicotine. Social learning theory describes how we learn by example from others. We are strongly influenced by our parents, and other people we look up to, such as peers, actors and pop stars. This can lead us to emulate their behaviour and try smoking. Most people will tell you that there first cigarette was not nice tasting. They may have even felt sick or choked. But at the same time there is an almost immediate effect on their brains with those first cigarettes, which the brain craves more of, so they keep smoking to get 50 cent louis vuitton shoes this reward. Later we learn to associate all aspects of smoking carrying the packet, playing with their lighter, pulling the cigarette out of the packet, taking that first draw on the lit cigarette, the hand to mouth arm action of smoking and so on with other activities such as drinking coffee, speaking on the phone, going to the pub, etc. Also smoking starts to serve other helpful purposes such as stopping us feeling hungry, giving a reason to take a break from work, a way to connect socially with new people "I couldn't get a light could I?" and so on. We can become so used to the routine that just the thought of the activity louis vuitton neverfull checkered triggers the need for a cigarette, just like Pavlov's dogs learned to drool at the sound of a bell without the food even appearing. These psychological associations remain when smokers try to quit. Finally, you learn to keep on smoking, because if you try to quit you are punished by withdrawal symptoms irritability, snappiness, lack of concentration. Also, if your friends smoke, deciding to quit can be awkward because they may see it as a criticism of their habit and many smokers worry about losing friends because they stop smoking. Having a cigarette quickly gets rid of these symptoms, negatively reinforcing the desire to carry on smoking as well as the belief that smoking makes you feel better, for example that it helps to cope with stress, whereas the benefits of better health take longer to realise. Cultural influences Over the years television shows and films have effectively built up associations between smoking and glamour, sex and risk taking. From classic movies with Humphrey Bogart to Uma Thurman in Pulp Fiction, cultural images involving cigarettes are strong, and generally positive about smoking. There is consistent evidence that links exposure to depictions of smoking in movies and initiation of smoking in young people. The amount of smoking related images in films continues to increase over time, despite the fact that the amount of smoking in the real world is decreasing. In addition, we are still subject to advertising that deliberately promotes smoking and makes positive associations with brands.
The tobacco industry denies targeting young people, but the result of product placement in TV and films as well as sponsoring exciting, risky, macho sports, is that it attracts the attention of young people. A study found that boys who were fans of motor racing, which is heavily sponsored by the tobacco industry, were more likely to smoke than those who weren't. What these images don't often convey are the negatives of smoking, from the yellow stains on your fingers and the stench of your breath, or the long term serious consequences from smoking.
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