Tobacco use has been a healthcare concern for a while now since the studies have confirmed the link between cigarette smoking and cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and cardiovascular disease. The policymakers have attempted to address the issue of population tobacco use by imposing taxes and restricting access to this substance to individuals under the age of 21 (FDA, n.d.). Still, recently tobacco-containing products were introduced to the market, including e-cigarettes, vapes, and other devices that contain nicotine and other chemicals. The FDA warns against the use of these products because they impair the person’s health and have damaging long-term effects. The goal of this assessment is to promote the health literacy of this community and underline a health promotion plan that would help address the tobacco use concerns among the young population.
The population that is at risk of using tobacco-containing products are young adults. Currently, the United States legislation prohibits the sale of tobacco products to individuals below the age of 21, under the “Tabacoo 21” law enacted in 2019 (FDA, n.d.). The primary concern with these products is that they “can cause diseases including cancer, cardiovascular disease, and COPD” that are a result of exposure to nicotine and other chemicals that are found in tobacco and similar products (FDA, n.d., para. 1). Hence, the health risks associated with the use of tobacco are the development of chronic diseases that threaten the life and wellbeing of the individual.
Considering the dangers of the chemicals that are typically present in tobacco products, one should also examine the statistics regarding the use of these items. The CDC’s (n.d.) assessment suggests that 3 in every 100 middle school students and 8 in every 100 high school students smoke or use an equivalent tobacco product. Moreover, the CDC (n.d.) warns that “youth who use multiple tobacco products are at higher risk for developing nicotine dependence and might be more likely to continue using tobacco into adulthood” (para. 1). Hence, as a nurse, one has to consider the ways of explaining the danger and potential consequences of overusing tobacco products to young adults.
Considering the danger of tobacco-containing products and the increasing popularity of electronic devices that contain tobacco, there is a need to educate the younger generation about the dangers and potential health effects of tobacco that they might be unaware of. The population health needs include the need to explain why nicotine is only one element of the issue in tobacco-containing products and how the chemicals in these items can cause long-term negative effects to the human body.
When developing a sociogram, the factors that must be considered include perceptions of tobacco and products that are an alternative to cigarettes in the society, the economic accessibility of these products, the cultural image of tobacco, and the attitudes towards smoking and its alternatives in general. The social factors include the acceptance of tobacco use among young adults and the marketing efforts of the tobacco companies that promote the use of this substance among youngsters. Culturally, tobacco has been marketed as something that is integral to a person’s social status and success. Economic factors include the accessibility of tobacco products, mainly their price and availability on the market. Partially, this issue has been addressed by the government through regulations and additional taxes that intent to increase the price of tobacco products to limit their attractiveness to the users. Still, the marketing efforts of companies have to lead to the introduction of products such as vapes, e-cigarettes, and hookahs, that are shown as safer alternatives to smoking. Still, as FDA (n.d.) notes, the chemicals in these products are dangerous and cause harm to human health, which is why one should limit their consumption of these products. Additionally, there is a link between genetic factors and the onset of smoking and tobacco use, which should also be considered when developing a health promotion plan.
Lifestyle-wise, the use of tobacco is perceived as a bad habit, although recent developments such as IQOS and vape products that contain nicotine are marketed as a safer and more health-conscious option as opposed to cigarettes.
Health Promotion Strategies
As a health concern, the use of tobacco is important to address for this community and especially for the young generation because as CDC (n.d.) notes, the use of tobacco products among young adults increases the likelihood of them developing an addiction to these products in the future. Health education can allow nursing professionals to address this concern because it addresses the individual’s awareness about the issue and side effects of nicotine and associated chemicals.
One learning need of this population is the long-term effects of tobacco use on the individual’s health. Specifically, young people, when they begin to use tobacco-containing products, may not feel the effect of these products on their health and wellbeing. However, over the long-term, tobacco can impair the functioning of their cardiovascular system and cause pulmonary issues or even lead to cancer. As a result, these young adults cause substantial harm to their long-term health without realizing the potential impact of their actions, and the goal of this health promotion project is to address this gap.
Another learning need is the lack of studies that would investigate the effects of vaping and IQOS-like products on people’s health. Mainly, since cigarette smoking has been a concern for a while, there were multiple studies linking smoking to health concerns such as cancer and others. With the new developments in the tobacco industry, there have not been sufficient studies that would help highlight the health effects of tobacco on the person’s wellbeing, and therefore, even the FDA does not recommend using these products (FDA, n.d.). The agreed-upon health goals include the following:
- Explaining the addictive properties of nicotine
- Addressing the knowledge gap about other harmful chemicals contained in tobacco products
- Outlining the damaging long-term health impacts of these products
In summary, health education is an effective method for enhancing the wellbeing and health of individuals because these strategies help promote self-care and raise awareness about the potential danger of some habits, such as the use of tobacco-containing products. The following are the main points addressed in this paper:
- Smoking endangers the individuals’ health due to the chemicals contained in these products, along with tobacco
- There is the increased popularity of products alternative to tobacco, such as e-cigarettes and vapes;
- 8 in every 100 high school students uses two or more tobacco-containing products;
- The population health needs to be addressed by this project is raising awareness about the dangers of tobacco smoking and its potential effects on the individual’s health and wellbeing;
- The health promotion goal of this project is to teach young adults the risks of tobacco-containing product use to reduce the likelihood of them continuing to smoke or use tobacco-containing products in the future.
CDC. (n.d). Youth and tobacco use. Web.
FDA. (n.d.). Tobacco 21. Web.
FDA. (n.d.). Chemicals in tobacco products and your health. Web.