Adolescent Cigarette Abuse

Essay by connieyayyCollege, UndergraduateA, November 2014

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In Mary Mederios Kent's 2011 article "Not All Americans are Smoking Less", Kent studies the general trends of cigarette use in Americans. She makes the argument that, although the total amount of adults who smoke is lower than previous years, this fact lures people into a false sense of security regarding American health. The truth is that although it may seem as though less people are smoking, this is only because many general polls taken encompass only adults, when in fact, the majority of smokers now begin in their adolescent years. Therefore, Kent argues, this misleading data allows the public to disregard social issues that are important and necessary for societal health.

Kent is a senior demographic writer for the Population Reference Bureau. Because this is a specialized publication and not just an accumulation of news, Kent can be considered an expert in her field. As the claimsmaker, Kent offers extensive grounds for her argument.

Rather than loading her paper with typifying examples, Kent cites quantitative data and statistics, such as that in the 1960s, 42 percent of American adults were smokers, whereas by 2010 it had decreased to about 20 percent (2011). She includes graphs that show the changing trends of smoking, and more importantly, the fact that smoking is quickly becoming more prevalent in younger age groups.

Additional grounds in her article emphasize the kind of people affected. Kent analyzes how, although teenagers as a whole are smoking more, there are also divisions by class and ethnicity. Smoking is currently most prevalent amongst non- Hispanic white students, and least so among Hispanics. This, Kent states, is most likely a result of the increased immigration of non-smoking Hispanics into America (2011). Although it is true that the percentage of African American teenagers who smoke is nearly as...