Smoking as a Current Health Topic Essay

Leanne Brewer Choose a current health topic and discuss the health policy initiatives that directly impacts upon NHS provision of care. Identify at least two health models and discuss how these might positively influence an individual’s health and well being. Smoking is a significant health topic in the UK today. With over 10 million people smoking cigarettes in the United Kingdom and a further two million that smoke cigars, pipes or both the vast majority of them being men. Cigarette Smoking causes a number of health problems and risks that can be very expensive to treat.

This has a huge effect on the NHS, Spending over 1. 5 billon including hospital admissions, GP consultations and prescriptions. Smoking is a substance such as tobacco which is inhaled and tasted. Cigarettes contain over 4000 different chemicals the most damaging being tar, this is the substances that causes cancer and the black tar colouring on the lungs, the part of the cigarette that becomes addictive to the smoker is the nicotine not only does it become highly addictive it also increases cholesterol in the body.

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Carbon monoxide is also inhaled into the body whilst smoking this reduces oxygen in the body. Today tobacco consumption is recognised as the UK single greatest cause of preventable illness and early death with more that 107,000 people dying in 2007 from smoking related diseases. In Britain 30% of people aged 20-24 are known as smokers, 13% of smokers are aged 60 and over, the amount of smokers aged 60 and over has halved from 1974 from 34% to 13% in 2008. There are many related illnesses caused due to smoking cigarettes. Most smoking related deaths are due to heart disease, cancers and COPD.

Some of the diseases are more serious than others such as COPD, Heart disease, cancers such as throat, lung and kidney. Other conditions that smoking can cause is problems in society such as chest infections, asthma, smell on clothes, stained teeth and yellow fingers. Smoking causes more than just problems to your health, such as life insurance being more expensive, sense of taste and smell are duelled, smell on breath and there are many other factors rather than just health. The NHS has introduced many initiatives to prevent smoking in the United Kingdom.

These have been put in place to help people stop smoking with support that is free and confidential. One of the most successful initiatives the NHS have provided for smokers is Quitters .This is a session that is quite informal and can be attended with a friend or family member for support, the advisors are very supportive and knowledgeable about the different products and ways to give up smoking; statistically you are 4 times more likely to give up smoking if quitters is attended (http://www. southamptonquitters. nhs. uk/).

The most effective way that people have been able to quit smoking is by taking drugs that have been prescribed for example Zyban. Zyban is a drug used to help motivated people to quit smoking, this works on the chemicals in the brain that make people addicted to the nicotine . The full course of the zyban drugs last about 8-9 weeks, like many drugs it can have some side effects. Another Drug that is a prescription pill is Champix this is used to help smokers give up their addition,champix reduces the craving for nicotine and reduces the enjoyment if smokers choose to smoke whilst taken the pill.

The treatment last for approximately 12 weeks and is started whilst the person is still smoking as it needs time to start working. The NHS provides many other ways for people to give up smoking without taking pills; such as nicorette patches these are a type of medicine known as nicotine replacement therapy (NRT). The patches come in different strengths, and can be brought over the counter for about ? 15, if the smokers attend quitters they provide the patches free of charge.

Another successful form of NRT that was introduced by the National Health Service is nicotine gum this supplies a faster ‘hit’ of nicotine than the patches, its provided in two different strengths and smokers should chew 10-15 pieces a day regardless of whether the smoker experiences cravings. The world health organisation states that Health is “A state of complete physical, mental, and social well being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity” The bio-medical view of health and illness can be identified, classified and measured by using scientific methods, Doctors and nurses focus more emphasis on illness rather than health.

Descartes view of the body is that “it’s like a machine made up of many component parts working together to perform particular tasks we only send for a mechanic when a part breaks down”(Page 16 Health studies booklet), this is like Humans we only visit a doctor or nurse when we are ill . Doctors and nurses are only interested when our bodies “Breakdown” or “work abnormally” rather than being interested when working normally. The Bio-medical view of health has been a dominant view of health in the 19th and 20th century.

It been a great success and focuses on the mind being separate from the body . All health professions assess illness and disease in a daily basis but they don’t underlay the problem of why the patient is in their care. The Biomedical view is hugely responsible for scientific advantages such as development of vaccines, antibiotics, medical technology and surgery. Smoking has a huge impact on the biomedical factor within the NHS. Just in one year from 2007 – 2008 there was over 1. 4 million hospital admissions due to smoking.

Cancer is the most predominant smoking related illness in the UK with over 42,800 deaths due to these smoking related illnesses (Net Doctor) such as lung cancer and other types of cancer such as bladder cancer ,cancer of the oesophagus cancer of the kidneys ,cancer of the pancreas and cervical cancer. Treating Cancer has cost ? 0. 6 billion and long term lung conditions have cost ? 1. 4billion. The second most predominant smoking related illness is cardiovascular disease it is an important cause within smokers as well as coronary heart disease.

Cigarette smokers have raised levels of fibrinogen (a protein which causes blood to clot), increased blood viscosity and reduced levels of blood oxygenation (as carbon monoxide produced when smoking attaches itself to haemoglobin more easily than oxygen (http://www. heartstats. org/datapage. asp? id=3851). The British heart foundation statistics shows that mortality from coronary disease was 50% higher in smokers and 75% higher in heavy smokers and cardiovascular disease is 60% higher in smokers. Recent research shows that in England in 2009 there was 90,000 deaths with the NHS still spending ? . 5 billion on cardiovascular diseases these have seemed to become the most popular amongst smokers. The money that is being taken from the NHS funds to treat smoking related diseases is something that can be prevented The Bio-medical model is unlike others such as the social model focuses on health as well as illness. It focuses on Health inequalities’ on structural factors rather than individuals needs. It looks at how society and the environment affect our everyday life things such as social class, occupation, education, poverty and poor housing.

Statistics show that 25% per cent of smokers are teenagers many are forced into peer pressure. This is a huge reason why young adults start the addiction; many individuals see the smoking addiction as ‘cool’ and believe that they will become ‘popular’. Young adults see this as a way to fit in with the crowd or in some ways may even be bullied into starting smoking. People believe smoking relives the levels of stress an anxiety, smokers have been shown to have higher levels of stress than a non smoker but it has been shown in recent studies that it’s the addiction to nicotine that the body craves and this is why the smoker feels stressed.

The media also motivates people to continuing smoking; the media advertises the smoking to look ‘sexy’. As in many Hollywood films it’s the main blonde slim character that is smoking that make the viewers perceive her as an idol, again there are many advertisements that show that smoking is sociable and doesn’t stop you from doing what you want to do such as groups taking time outside in a nightclub to attend the smoking terrace this is a chance to chat and cool down, many adverts now advertise cigarettes to give you a fresh breath.

Life expectancy at birth has increased in both social classes today but is still an unequal society, for instance wealthy families are more likely to live longer, poor housing and poverty also affects the health of individuals as “smoking” is seen as a cheap luxury that relives stress whereas rich people can take a vacation as a luxury but people that are not as wealthy see nicotine as a treat. People on deprived areas may smoke as it could be a sign of ignorance and denial of health affects as well as stress and anxiety.

Children who are in poor housing and live with families such as older spouses or parents that smoke are more likely to pick up the habit and start as it would be hypocritical to try and stop the nicotine addiction as this is how they have been educated. In conclusion to my research studies, the NHS spends billions every year on patients that are admitted to hospital for smoking related diseases. Smoking is the most preventable disease and premature death in the UK. The government have introduced a new tobacco control programme to create a smoke free future to support people to live healthier and longer lives and save money to within the NHS . The strategy the government have set up is to stop the inflow of young people recruited as smokers, to motivate and assist every smoker to quit and to protect families and communities from tobacco related harm, this strategy has been put into place with the help such as quitters. As well as the NHS spending money on X-rays, consultants, and operations they also provide free support for people willing to quit.

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