What are the causes, health effects, and solutions to cigarettes smoking among adolescents living in Belfast District of Northern Ireland?
The study proposal commences with a discussion about the background of the topic and the rationale for studying it. Secondly, it highlights the aim and objectives of the inquiry. It then presents a critical review of the relevant literature. Furthermore, it discusses the methodology of the study and the justification for undertaking it. It then highlights the issues of research ethics and biases. After presenting the work plan for the study, the investigator reflects on the entire research process making observations.
Background and Rationale
The smoking of cigarettes among adolescents is a global problem. Teens are exposed to cigarettes in the family, at school, during peer interactions and in their engagement with the community. In the United Kingdom, which includes England, Wales, Scotland and the Northern Ireland, cigarettes smoking among adolescents is reported to be of a significant concern (https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/health-professional/cancer-statistics/risk/childhood-smoking, pp. 1). Inasmuch as the United Kingdom has more than one anti-smoking policies for various groups, more people tend to begin the smoking of cigarettes in their adolescence. In the republic of Northern Ireland, the trend is seemingly a representative of the UK situation. About 4 percent of adolescents between 11 and 16 years indulged in cigarettes smoking in Northern Ireland in 2013 (https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/health-professional/cancer-statistics/risk/childhood-smoking, pp. 1). To that effect, they are exposed to health risks associated with tobacco use, which include compulsive obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), high blood pressure, hypertension, lung cancer, cancer of the larynx and mouth cancer among other cancerous and respiratory infections. About 11% of the Northern Ireland population lives with the diseases ((https://nichs.org.uk/about-us/statistics/, pp. 1). The illnesses are in most cases chronic, which means that the person has to live with them for the rest of his or her life or get a surgical treatment. The numbers of cigarettes smoking adolescents who contract and die of the illnesses will continue to be on the rise as long as the smoking of cigarettes is not effectively addressed in the district of Belfast. Cigarettes smoking causes at least 2300 deaths of youths every year in the republic of Northern Ireland (https://nichs.org.uk/about-us/statistics/, pp. 1).
The rationale for the study is that it would be crucial to understanding the ways in which the adolescents are exposed to the smoking of cigarettes if the health effects of such behaviors are to be effectively addressed. It is important to understand the prevalence of both health-related and health-directed behaviors in order to know their health effects and finally develop a working solution to them. As such, the proposal is developed on the rationale that understanding the causes of adolescents’ involvement in either passive or active smoking and the health effects of the behaviour are crucial to helping the policymakers and actors formulate working solutions and implement them with the high motivation. Research evidence is a powerful tool in the derivation of policies and executing implementation plans to curb behavioural health challenges, particularly when it aims at the root cause of the problem.
The study will explain the causes, health effects and solutions to cigarettes smoking among adolescents in Belfast district of Northern Ireland.
- To explore the causes of adolescents cigarettes smoking in Belfast district
- To understand the health effects of adolescents’ cigarettes smoking in Belfast district
- To explain the effectively working solutions to the exposure of adolescents to cigarettes smoking in Belfast
The research objectives can be translated to particular research questions, which include:
- What are the causes of adolescents’ cigarettes smoking in Belfast district?
- How does adolescents’ involvement in the smoking of cigarettes affect their health?
- What are the effectively working solutions to adolescents’ cigarettes smoking?
Literature Search Strategy
The literature is organised into three subsections. Firstly, it discusses the causes of cigarettes smoking among adolescents. Secondly, it documents the health effects of cigarettes smoking among adolescents. Lastly, it discusses the solutions to the smoking of cigarettes among adolescents.
Causes of cigarettes smoking among adolescents
The smoking of cigarettes among adolescents in Belfast district has been linked to a number of issues. The peers, parents and parenting styles, desire to experiment with the drug, stress, homelessness are among the issues that cause the teenagers to get involved in the smoking of cigarettes and other tobacco-containing drugs. Peers are influential in the life of an adolescent (Perra et. al., 2012, pp. 317). They come at a time when the child refocuses his or her attention to the people of the same age as opposed to the earlier times when parents were the centre of focus. The need to belong is central to humanity. As such, Belfast district adolescents have to belong to a given peer group. The groups have their unique ways of doing things, some of which resent the parental standards. In the very groups, there are leaders who dictate the actions in which members engage. The need to conform to the group’s standards pushes the followers to take part in the identified behaviours, most of which include the abuse of drugs such as tobacco-containing substances.
Parenting styles such as authoritarianism and being neglectful or absent also expose the adolescents to cigarettes smoking. The Belfast district dictator parents do not give the children room to understand why they should not smoke cigarettes (Perra et. al., 2012, pp. 319). They set absolute rules and punish to harm the adolescent. The children smoke as a sign of rebellion to the hard-line parenting. Neglectful and absent parents have no time for their children. As such, they have little moral and health guidance. The adolescents who run away from their homes are also exposed to cigarettes smoking because they spend much of their times with drugs abusers either on the streets of Belfast or in their new residences. They also have poor stress coping skills, which makes them think that cigarettes smoking is an efficient way of curbing the life stresses. Some adolescents also begin smoking in order to experiment with the drug. They then become addicted to nicotine when the experiences are good to them. Lastly, some adolescents imitate their cigarettes smoking parents to develop the habits. About 4% of Belfast adolescents were cigarettes smokers in 2013 (https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/health-professional/cancer-statistics/risk/childhood-smoking, pp. 1).
The health effects of cigarettes smoking among adolescents
Smoking is associated with numerous health risks such as COPD, lung cancer, heart diseases, hypertension, high blood pressure and larynx cancer in the district of Belfast. Cigarettes smoking among Belfast adolescents is the leading cause of their diagnosis with COPD and lung cancer. Evidence adds that the earlier a person begins smoking, the more likely he or she is to be diagnosed with the highlighted chronic diseases (https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/health-professional/cancer-statistics/risk/childhood-smoking, pp. 1). The adolescents who smoke cigarettes also have an increased likelihood of dying of tobacco-related death such as heart failure. About 14 percent of deaths in Northern Ireland in 2015 were respiratory related with COPD accounting for 6% of them (https://nichs.org.uk/about-us/statistics/, pp. 1). It adds that 18% of the deaths in the nation in 2015 were due to heart diseases. As such, smoking among adolescents remains one of the health burdens of Belfast district. It should also be noted that the government of Northern Ireland does not have much budget for the health of the people as compared to the other UK nations. Therefore, the cigarettes smoking adolescents are further exposed to living with or dying of an untreated chronic illness.
Solutions to the smoking of cigarettes among adolescents
Inadequate government support for effective parenting, poor health promotion among adolescents and inadequate public awareness of the fragility of the district when adolescents engage in cigarettes smoking are among the causes of poorly working solutions to the menace. The government, through relevant stakeholders, should advocate for an authoritative parenting style where the adolescent and parents objectively discuss the health issues that relate to cigarettes smoking and benefits of living free from tobacco-containing substances (Piko, & Balázs, 2012, pp. 355). Secondly, more funding should also be directed to public awareness to prevent adolescents’ cigarettes smoking behaviours as compared to managing the smoking-related illnesses (Pierce, White, & Emery, 2012, pp. 263). Health education and promotion have proved invaluable in other parts of the UK such as England. Lastly, there is need to build healthier social networks and enhance the life skills empowerment programmes in Belfast (https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/life/features/iceland-knows-how-to-stop-teen-substance-abuse-but-the-rest-of-the-world-isnt-listening-35428000.html, pp. 1). The intervention underscores that teenagers, being human beings, have an inherent need to have highly-esteemed social ties. Most of the causes of cigarettes smoking among adolescents in Belfast are due to social ties breakdown. Rebuilding and reinventing their utility toward a healthy community is crucial to curbing adolescents’ cigarettes smoking tendencies (Seo, & Huang, 2012, pp. 25).
Methodology and Justification
The study will be conducted in Belfast district of the Northern Ireland republic. However, it will not involve the generation of primary data. It implies that the investigator will review the relevant secondary information in order to carry out the inquiry. Therefore, the findings will be purely derived from the already conducted investigations about the topic. The inquiry will involve the use of seven sources, which will include authorised websites and peer-reviewed journal articles. The sources of information will be sampled purposively based on their relevance in relation to any aspect of the issue under investigation and the year of publication. The sources relied on must have been published between 2012 and 2017. As such, the inclusion and exclusion criteria will examine the relevance of the source in relation to the issue of study and the year of publication. A given source has to discuss at least one of the subsections highlighted in the literature, which include the causes, health effects, and solutions to adolescents’ cigarettes smoking. It also has to be within the identified year of publication. Any article or authorised website that does not meet any of the three requirements will be excluded from informing the findings of the study.
The investigation is justified for a number of reasons. Firstly, it will provide relevant evidence to the policymakers and actors about the causes, health effects and solutions to adolescents’ cigarettes smoking in order for them to understand the relatedness of cigarettes smoking to the health of the teenagers. Such a connection will task them with the duty of employing the well-researched quality evidence to formulate policies to curb cigarettes smoking among the teens and address their health issues that are caused by the smoking of cigarettes. Such a situation will lead to less number of adolescents abusing tobacco-containing substances and a healthier teenage generation in the district of Belfast. Secondly, the study will be of significance to the other districts of the Northern Ireland republic as important evidence to engage in addressing the cigarettes smoking menace and its health issues. Thirdly, the study is important to other investigators as a source of evidence for their studies. They will have an expanded database containing numerous relevant inquiries that they can rely on to develop a more consolidated literature review base. Critically appraising the methodology of the study and its results will be central to them in identifying the gaps in knowledge within the field of health that they can strive to fill. Lastly, the research proposal is necessary to the investigator as part of the fulfilment of the requirements for the program of pursuit.
Ethical and Bias Issues
The investigation has no direct potential violation of the research ethics involving human participants. It involves the use of secondary sources of information as opposed to the primary ones. As such, it will rely on the relevant information from previous studies. Therefore, the fundamentals and principles of research ethics such as autonomy, confidentiality, safety and beneficence will not be breached. However, the investigation will adhere to the principle of justice. As such, the findings will be used benefit the region on which it bases its findings. The principle of respect will be partly adhered to in the sense that the researcher does not intend to use the literature to defame the investigators. The sources will also not be used for personal gain other than to be awarded the academic qualification for which the research proposal is submitted to the learning institution. However, the researcher will objectively appraise the sources in order to have a study that is of high quality.
The study is valid and reliable. On validity, the study meets all the requirements, which include internal, construct, and external validity. The literature used by the investigator are critically reviewed based on their relevance to the topic and region and the manner in which they were designed and carried out. On reliability, the study uses the findings that had been discussed by the previous studies that were approved by the relevant bodies. Secondly, it uses data from at least six sources published between 2012 and 2017, which adds to the accuracy of the findings over the years. On the same note, the sources having been published by non-predatory journals are adequate proof that they met both the validity and reliability requirements. Above all, they were critically reviewed objectively by the investigator and passed as the most relevant of the sources that were consulted.
The research proposal development process has been of significant learning to me. The lessons have been highly invaluable. One of the tools that I found very useful was the research layout rubric. I used it to design the subsections of my paper. It was also important to me in choosing the most appropriate topic that I clearly understand. I developed the rationale, objectives and methodology of the study before the literature section. They helped me focus my literature review drawing particularly from the source selection criteria. I also did personal studies on how a secondary sourced research proposal should be designed, which proved very important in my developing the protocol.
- Belfast Telegraph. 2017. Iceland knows how to stop teen substance abuse but the rest of the world isn’t listening. Retrieved from https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/life/features/iceland-knows-how-to-stop-teen-substance-abuse-but-the-rest-of-the-world-isnt-listening-35428000.html on 13/05/2017
- Cancer Research UK. Retrieved from https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/health-professional/cancer-statistics/risk/childhood-smoking on 13/05/2017.
- Northern Ireland Chest Heart & Stroke 1946 – 2016. Retrieved from https://nichs.org.uk/about-us/statistics/ on 13/05/2017.
- Perra, O., Fletcher, A., Bonell, C., Higgins, K. and McCrystal, P., 2012. School-related predictors of smoking, drinking and drug use: Evidence from the Belfast Youth Development Study. Journal of adolescence, 35(2), pp.315-324.
- Pierce, J.P., White, V.M. and Emery, S.L., 2012. What public health strategies are needed to reduce smoking initiation?. Tobacco control, 21(2), pp.258-264.
- Piko, B.F. and Balázs, M.Á., 2012. Authoritative parenting style and adolescent smoking and drinking. Addictive behaviors, 37(3), pp.353-356.
- Seo, D.C. and Huang, Y., 2012. Systematic review of social network analysis in adolescent cigarette smoking behavior. Journal of School Health, 82(1), pp.21-27.