Why Do Kids Smoke? Analyzed using Sutherland's Differential Association Theory tool.

Essay by tumblekerUniversity, Master'sA+, November 2004

download word file, 9 pages 5.0 2 reviews

Why do kids really smoke? It's not because of what a tobacco company does, but rather because of what kids' friends do. Sociologists, child psychologists, and other experts agree that peer influence, the need to establish independence, and lack of parental involvement are the main reasons kids smoke.

As young people try to shape their own identities, they face tremendous pressures. They copy hairstyles, clothing, and behaviors, including smoking. They want to do what their friends are doing. They want to be more grown-up because they believe there are fewer rules to follow. What needs to be done is raise the self-esteem of young people. Also, give them tools to handle the wave of pressures and temptations that wash over them as they make the difficult transition from childhood to adulthood.

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), more than 3,000 young people become regular smokers every day, that totals more than one million new young smokers a year.

(CDC, 2003) Many of these teens will continue to smoke regularly as adults, increasing their risk of dying prematurely from smoking-related diseases, such as lung cancer, heart disease, and stroke.

The CDC (2003) also reports that, 'Teen smoking is often an early warning sign of future problems. Teens who smoke are three times as likely as nonsmokers to use alcohol, eight times as likely to use marijuana, and 22 times as likely to use cocaine. Smoking is also associated with numerous other high risk behaviors, including fighting and having unprotected sex." (CDC, 2003)

Teen smoking is the social phenomenon that will be addressed within this paper. The topic will be defined and further analyzed through Edwin Sutherland's Differential Association Theory. Sutherland's theory tool is an excellent tool for this phenomenon as it breaks down the process in which...