1.1    Background of the Study

Smoking is a practice in which a substance such as, tobacco, marijuana or cannabis is burned and the smoke tasted or inhaled. It is primarily practiced as a route of administration for recreation drug use, as combustion release the active substances in drugs such as nicotine and makes them available for absorption through the lungs. It can be done as a part of rituals to induce trances and spiritual enlightenment, (Lock, Reyndds and Tansey, 2003). Smoking is one of the most common forms of recreational drug use. In recent times, tobacco smoking is by far the most popular form of smoking ahead of pipes, cigars and chewing tobacco and is practiced by over one billion people in the majority of all human societies resulting in nearly 2 billion people, that is a third of the world’s population being exposed to pulmonary tuberculosis pathogen (Philips, 2010; World Health Organization, 2002).

Smoking has been shown to be a leading cause of premature mortality and morbidity resulting in several millions of deaths globally. It has been predicted that if the pattern currently seen among youth continues, a lifetime of tobacco use would result in the deaths of 250 million children and young people alive today, most of them in developing countries (WHO, 2012). National Population Commission (2009) submitted that Nigeria is one of the most populous countries in Africa, with an estimated population of 162 million people of which youth are estimated to be more than 30%. In Nigeria, the prevalence of tobacco use among adults (12.3% males).

Smoking usually begins in the early teens and puts health at risk in every community. Cigarette advertising also lures youths and young adults to start smoking. Nearly all first use occurs in secondary school. It is common for youths to feel social pressure in many ways from clothing and music to risky areas such as drugs, sex, and smoking, and they tend to experiment and try out new experiences.

The period of experimentation is usually very dangerous because of accompanying risk, injury or death. Alcohol and cigarettes are gateway drugs because they are usually the first drugs that are used before other drugs are tried out Merril (1994). Furthermore, Blaze Temple and Kai Lo (1992) asserted that alcohol and tobacco were important “gateway” drugs that lead to increased use of other illegal drugs. Most drug use starts during the period of youths especially for ‘gateway’ drugs. Nigerian youths have been identified as a major group involved in the use and abuse of drugs (FMOH, 2000).

So many factors have been put forward for youths’ and young adults’ engagement in smoking among which are for normal developmental changes, psychological factors, social environment and sexual factors. Under normal developmental changes, influence of peers, the need to conform and direct craving for cigarettes/alcohol use (gateway drugs) have been mentioned. For psychological factors, emotional problems such as low self-esteem, dissatisfaction with life, less social confidence, need for approval, anxiety, restlessness, promiscuity, antisocial and conduct symptoms were identified. Considering social environment, family influences (when youths have parents who are unstable and engage in smoking, drug use and drink), role of the media (for instance advertisements for cigarettes, alcohol, portray people who drink and smoke as sexy, manly and sophisticated) have also been mentioned. With respect to sexual factors, typically youths who are preoccupied with sex and sexual performance most frequently smoke and use psychoactive drugs. The earlier the age, the more likely dependence will occur.

Youth smoking is a major concern throughout the world (Peto and Lopez, 2001). In developing countries, the trend is increase in cigarette smoking among youths (GYTSCG, 2002). The habit of cigarette smoking with onset during youths is difficult to break in adulthood (Paavola et al., 2004). Most adult smokers began to smoke or were already addicted to smoking before the age of 18 (Paavola et al., 2004). Risk factors for initiation of cigarette smoking in youths include gender (Rachiotis et al., 2008), smoking parents or siblings (GYTSCG 2002; Rachiotis et al., 2008) smoking peers (Rachiotis et al., 2008), advertisement (GYTSCG 2002; Rudatsikira et al., 2007; and Siziya et al., 2007). Other risk factors include the perception that smoking is not harmful (Rudatsikira et al., 2007) or makes them look mature (GYTSCG, 2002) and having excess pocket money (Rachiotis et al., 2008; and Mohan et al., 2005). Initiation of smoking is closely followed by addiction (Voller and Strong, 1981). Unfortunately, addicted smokers from the developing countries are unlikely to quit the habit as there are no smoking cessation programs (WHO, 2008).

1.2   Statement of the Problem

Smoking is an important risk factor for many non-communicable diseases globally. It is one of the greatest contributors to preventable illness and premature death (Mather and Loncar, 2006). It kills a third to half of those who use it (Peto et al., 1997). The global tobacco epidemic threatens the lives of at least one billion people (Peto and Lopez, 2001). Tobacco use is a risk factor for six of the eight leading causes of death globally (WHO, 2008). Cigarette smoking is a significant risk factor in the development and acceleration of the atherosclerosis (Peto and Lopez, 2001; Schoen and Cotran, 1999; and Taylor, 1993) especially those who started smoking before age of 20 years (Voller and Strong, 1981). Tragically, more than 80% of tobacco deaths occur in the developing world (WHO, 2008). Tobacco use is growing fastest in low-income countries due to steady population growth and the tobacco industry targets this vulnerable population. Unlike other dangerous substances for which the health impacts are immediate, tobacco-related disease usually begin to manifest up to 3 decades after tobacco use starts (Lopez et al., 1994). It has been suggested that as tobacco use rises globally, the epidemic of tobacco-related disease and death is expected to increase (WHO, 2008).

1.3   Objectives of the Study

The study sought to know the causes and consequences of smoking in youths in Nigeria. Specifically, the study sought to;

1.      examine significant causes and consequences of smoking on youths in Nigeria.

2.      examine the factors influencing youth’s engagement in smoking in Nigeria.

3.      assess the extent of the problem of youths smoking habit in Nigeria.

4.      suggest tips to youths on how to quit smoking.

1.4       Research Questions

1.      What is the significant causes and consequences of smoking on youths in Nigeria?

2.      What are the factors influencing youth’s engagement in smoking in Nigeria?

3.      What is the extent of the problem of youths smoking habit in Nigeria?

4.      What are the tips on how to quit smoking in youths?

1.5       Research Hypotheses

Ho: There is no significant causes and consequences of smoking on youths in Nigeria.

Hi: There is a significant causes and consequences of smoking on youths in Nigeria.

1.6    Significance of the Study

This study will be of immense benefit to other researchers who intend to know more on this study and can also be used by non-researchers to build more on their research work. This study contributes to knowledge and could serve as a guide for other study.

1.7     Scope/Limitations of the Study

This study is on the causes and consequences of smoking in youths in Nigeria with a view of finding a lasting solution to the problem of smoking in youths.

Limitations of the study

Financial constraint: Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).

Time constraint: The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.

1.8       Definition of Terms

Smoking: Smoking is a practice in which a substance is burned and the resulting smoke breathed in to be tasted and absorbed into the bloodstream.

Adolescence: The period following the onset of puberty during which a young person develops from a child into an adult.

Youth: A young person who is developing into an adult.




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