Education and Science Professionals and Smoking

According to the Wald Test, a parametric analysis test that was named after statistician Abraham Wald, ‘more educated people are less likely to smoke’. Additionally, scientific studies show that public education is fundamental in decreasing the number of smokers in general.

proffesor standing in library

There is a clear negative correlation between smoking and education. This emphasizes the vital contribution of education and science professionals in reducing the number of smokers as well as the hazards that cigarettes bring to the human health.

How Big and Dangerous is Smoking and the Tobacco Industry?

It is undeniable that smoking does affect not only the smoker but also those who receive second-hand and third-hand smoke. It is the main cause of preventable deaths in the United States and other countries and is accountable for too many illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, and others.

Nevertheless, since its inception, the tobacco cigarette industry has become a global industry that now employs approximately 100 million people worldwide. Overall, it makes up a substantial amount of money that significantly adds to the economic value of countries like the US, China, Brazil, India, Indonesia, and Zimbabwe. This business has earned almost $500 in 2010, with the top 6 cigarette companies taking home $35.1 billion dollars in total. Every second, the six leading cigarette manufacturers earn over $1100.

Consequentially, as the highly-criticized industry makes rising profit each year, the number of deaths caused by cigarette smoking also increases. In the following year (2011), the Tobacco Atlas says almost 6 million people were killed due to tobacco use. If weighed against the industry’s total revenue, this would mean that for each death caused by tobacco use, huge tobacco companies earned close to $6000.

At the expense of thousands of people’s lives, the tobacco industry is alive and kicking, and making the most out of their existence. Not included in the previously mentioned data are those who suffer from nicotine related diseases that commonly affect tobacco farm workers. Of the total 100 million tobacco industry employees, around 40 million are in growing and leaf processing jobs, and 20 million are in charge of hand-rolling cigarettes mostly in India and Indonesia.

Education on Smoking Related Diseases

Before the 1950s, cigarette smoking was not recognized as a dangerous habit. Education campaigns and information dissemination through various channels only began in 1950 to 1970.

On the other hand, cigarette companies spend over $8.8 billion each year to advertise their products. This greatly contributes to the increased number of minors who smoke at a very young age. To counter highly-funded campaigns by cigarette manufacturers, aggressive anti-smoking education drives are being considered and launched.

The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention launched the Tips, its first media campaign that was directly funded by the federal government. The said campaign helped 17000 people from dying and 100,000 smokers to quit the deed in 2012. In fact, within the 12-week period of the campaign, their 1800-QUIT-NOW toll-free number that offers advice for those who are trying to stop smoking received calls that were double in volume.

The website that provides the same services ( got more than triple the number of its original visits. As a conclusion to the campaign, reports state that similar types of education drives are effective in lowering the smoking rate among young and old smokers.

The extent of these educational campaigns, whether through print ads, mass media, or formal educational classes and forums, is, however, limited. Based on scientific research, about 80% of the total number of deaths caused by smoking tobacco or smokeless tobacco is from low and middle-income countries. Moreover, among the individuals who suffer from chronic illnesses brought about by cigarette smoking, the majority belongs to the lower educated bracket.

In 1940, a time before the ill-effects of smoking were systematically divulged to the public, high school undergraduates accounted for a small portion of smokers among different education levels. However, since 1954, the number of smokers with at least a college degree declined dramatically, reaching only 14.2% by 2000. In short, from the 1940s to the present, more educated people have been more responsive to educational campaigns against smoking cigarettes.

While there has also been a decline in the number of smokers from lower education attainment brackets through the years, it began at a later time and happened at a slower pace.

Low-income and low-education individuals are more likely to continue smoking for a variety of reasons: (1) they do not see the relation between illnesses and smoking; (2) they found promotions and discounts as highly encouraging factors; (3) they adjust to the rising costs of cigarettes by either switching brands or rolling their own sticks; (4) many believed that second-hand smoking is more dangerous; (5) a huge number do not know that third-hand smoke is hazardous; (6) there is more stress, pressure, and environmental reminders that sway them to relapse in case they do quit; (7) they do not get sufficient medical advice from physicians because they do not admit to smoking cigarettes; and many more.

Of course, aside from those that have been stated, lower-income and lower-education people are not as receptive to education materials regarding smoking and its negative effects. Their working conditions and environment make them more prone to second-hand smoke. Moreover, with more worries and demands of their everyday lives, the relaxing element from the dopamine-inducing nicotine becomes fairly indispensable.

In this case, it is imperative for those who are more knowledgeable and educated, such as education and science professionals, to help lower-income and lower-education smokers to stop smoking.

Education and Science Professionals as Role Models

Among college graduates who make up the smaller percentage of the smoking population, education and science professionals are the most expected to know the hazards of cigarette smoking. After all, people from these fields of expertise handle research and studies related to smoking.

The cooperation of education and science professionals will greatly contribute to the overall efforts in convincing smokers to quit. They are also essential in providing assistance to those who are willing to do so. Professionals are not only are they effective in disseminating vital information regarding the effects of smoking on human health, animals, plants, and the environment. They are also highly trained in explaining such information to those who are not as educated.

Apart from their acquired knowledge and capability to interpret the scientifically proven facts regarding smoking and its byproducts, professionals are found to have better behavioral capabilities. Their emotional quotient, which covers anger and stress management skills, is found to be relatively higher. Hence, professionals in education and science are more capable of handling stressful events, especially during smoking cessation—something that they can impart towards the latter.

The key to putting an end to preventable deaths is by building a community where smoking and non-smoking individuals lend a helping hand. At the moment, the disparity between the education level and income between different groups and individuals remains. Nonetheless, everyone has the chance to live longer if everyone, especially education and science professionals, cooperate.

For more motivation to quit smoking once and for all, visit The Real Cost of Smoking.

Read more about the effects cigarette smoke has on the human body at The Effects of Smoking.

There are many ways to immediately reduce the harm of cigarette smoke. Read more about Smoking Cessation Methods.

Learn more about smoking:

Nicotine Dependence and Freedom

• How to Inspire a Smoker to Quit

• Secondhand Smoke: Think Twice

Quitting Smoking Cold Turkey

Published: September 3, 2015


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