Research Enquiry Project
Topic: Smoking in Young Adults in the UAE
Time: Spring 2021-22
Instructor’s name: Shibu Viswanathan Rajamonyammal
Smoking is an act of inhaling and exhaling burning plant-based materials (“smoking | Definition,
Types, Effects, History, & Facts”, 2022) that relieve the stress of the people performing this
activity, the smokers. It is quite harmful as cigarette smoking has a wide range of negative
health impacts that affect every organ system in the body. Tobacco smoke contains a variety
of compounds, many of which are harmful (including many carcinogens) (Smoking: What All
Healthcare Professionals Need to Know, 2016). Smoking is most prevalent among young adults,
accounting for 23% of those aged 16-24 and 24% of those aged 25-34. People aged 60 and up
continue to be the least likely to smoke (2022). This overconsumption occurred for several
reasons but was driven by the large-scale production of cigarettes; the mildness, packaging,
addictiveness, and comfort of the drug; the glamorization of smoking in movies and on
television; and persuasive advertising campaigns. Smokers are affected both Healthwise and
mentally as will be discussed below. Smoking has become a major social issue in the UAE in
recent years and has been most prevalent among young adults. Hence, we had decided to carry
out research on this topic and figure out the roots of this issue and suggest solutions that can
add to the welfare of society. To deliver a good presentation of our findings, we have conducted
both an online survey of 50 participants and an interview with a relevant authority from the
faculty of health. Details of our research and inquiry will be discussed below.
Claim1# Social influence is the main cause of smoking
There was a wide variety of views regarding becoming a smoker among adolescents who had
members of the family who smoked. Some emerging adults who grew up in smoking families were
vehemently antismoker as children, but by the time they were in college, some of these individuals
were receptive to experimenting with smoking themselves. Young adults’ observations of their
extended family have been absorbed through time and may impact health behavior. Furthermore,
parental smoking status has been proven to be a predictor of their child’s smoking in some cases
(Nichter & MImi, 2015). Based on the results of the survey of 48 participants, half of the respondents
(50%) believe that smoking mainly happens because of family and friends’ influence which means
that family and friends are the main cause of smoking in young adults. In addition to that, around
31.3 percent of respondents say that their family allows smoking but only for certain ages and
situations, indicating that a substantial proportion of young adults are allowed to smoke if they
reach a certain age or are exposed to situations that may cause them to smoke, such as stress or
family gatherings. In addition to that, it has long been documented that people who smoke have
acquaintances who smoke, the findings in much research demonstrate that one’s partner’s smoking
habit and views are also significantly impactful (Nichter & MImi, 2015). According to our survey
results, it has been found that both peer pressure and social inclusion were key causes that
influenced smoking in young adults and caused them to become regular smokers as 8.3% of our
respondents choose social as a key cause of smoking where young adults started smoking to fit in
while 16.7% of the respondents choose peer pressure as a key factor that influences smoking in
Claim2# Stress is another reason of smoking
There was a variety of opinions about youth smoking, which included some of the causes of youth
smoking, and stress was one of the most common, as it was the main reason for youth smoking in
the UAE in our study. Most of the responses to the sixth question were “I’ve never been a smoker”.
However, from this graph, we can point out the main reasons for smoking in youth as the graph
shows that relaxation and stress reduction are the two main reasons why young people become
regular smokers. Many tobacco users mistakenly believe that tobacco products help reduce stress
or anxiety due to this complex cycle. But it was just a great marketing link to tobacco use. Mental
health, stress relief, relaxation, and pleasure, and only enhances the brain’s production of
dopamine, (Nicotine use and stress, 2022) a “feel-good” chemical that can stimulate feelings of
pleasure and relaxation. In the ninth question, the respondents were asked about the most important
reasons that affect smoking among young people. The respondents were asked about the most
important reasons that affect young people for smoking. About 18.8% chose stress as the main
factor affecting smoking indicating that smoking acts as a stress reliever for young adult smokers.
Question 10 focuses on the general views of young people’s families about smoking. If they
encounter certain situations that could make them smoke, such as stress or family gatherings. There
are other factors to consider such as stress like teens smoking to get rid of the stress they go through
in their daily life.
Claim3# Peer pressure is one of the reasons of smoking
Addiction has been a problem in society since the dawn of time. Addiction has ruined the health
of the country and will continue to do so in future generations. The negative impact on young
generations, as well as the addiction to smoking cigarettes, is enormous. Smoking has had an
enormous impact on the brains and health of young people all around the world. Friendships are
one of your child’s most powerful impacts at this period of their lives, especially when it comes
to harmful behaviours like tobacco usage. In the UAE, the primary motivation for smoking is to
blend in with other friends, avoid rejection, and acquire social validation. Even with loving and
supportive parents and a warm and welcoming home life, teens are likely to develop peer
pressure. The drive to build a personal identity grows when living under parental supervision
begins to clash increasingly. As a result, teenagers form peer groups to become more self-reliant.
Our understanding of peer pressure can lead to significant improvements. You may learn to
choose your friends carefully and make the most of each social engagement by knowing the core
causes of peer pressure and its potential consequences.
Claim4# Curiosity is another factor that drives young adults to smoke.
According to the survey conducted, when asked about what factors influence young adults in the
UAE to smoke, 6.2% of participants claimed that they had started smoking due to curiosity. It is
a part of human nature to be curious about anything, especially when it comes to things or
situations that seem susceptible. When young adults observe others around them, strangers, or
people they know, smoking, they seem interested in why they smoke and how it feels. Some
other times, when advertisements, movies, books, etc. show or talk about smoking, young adults
question themselves, “Why aren’t I doing it? Do I also feel the need to smoke?” And so, because
of this curiosity, young adults end up smoking, feeling stress-free and enjoying it. Each puff,
they feel more relaxed and since smoking is addictive, it becomes hard for them to quit this
habit. Consequently, they become chain smokers from an exceedingly early age. Usually, no one
from their good friends or family will be aware of their habits. Hence, we need to spread
awareness about smoking becoming a major social issue in the UAE as the consequences of this
on the youth is devastating.
According to the interview we conducted with Dr. Asiya Nazir, who is a lab specialist in biology
and chemistry. “Effects of Smoking in young adults in the UAE.” Smoking in young adults is a
public health concern and it causes various health problems. If a teenager begins smoking at an
early age, quitting, or stopping is exceedingly difficult, as smoking can quickly evolve into a bad
addiction. Cigarettes, as we all know, contain two harmful components to our health: carbon
monoxide and tar. Carbon monoxide reduces the amount of oxygen carried around the body, while
tar is a poisonous deposit that covers and paralyzes the lungs. Smoking rates among UAE teenagers
have increased due to their curiosity about trying new things and experiencing what it’s like to
smoke, as well as the fact that if there are any smoking habits in the family, they can easily be
passed down to the children and influenced by their families and siblings, as well as the fact that
friends can influence each other more. Teenagers’ stress levels may also contribute to their belief
that smoking will make them feel better. Early communication and explanation of the harmful
effects of smoking with children before they reach adulthood can successfully lower the likelihood
of them starting to smoke later in life, which can have a significant impact and contribute to a
healthier society in the future. Nicotine is not poisonous to a certain extent, but it is not fully
nontoxic, therefore electronic cigarettes and vaping can help lower the risk of health problems. At
the same time, high-mg nicotine vaping should not be used for extended periods of time because
it can lead to addiction to vaping, which leads to continued smoking but in a different manner.
Although smoking has serious negative impacts on many other people, if society in the UAE
attempts and strives to avoid smoking and focuses more on our youth and future children, we can
live a long and healthy, peaceful life.
3. Survey methodology and analysis
We conducted an online survey through Google Forms to investigate the issue of smoking in
young adults in the UAE. The study sample consisted of 48 respondents. Both males and females
were asked to answer the survey questions. The survey was designed mainly to understand the
spread of the smoking phenomena among young adults in the UAE and to Explore the possible
reasons behind this spread. There were total of 10 questions, the questions were divided into:
demographics of the respondents (age and gender), the general attitude towards smoking, the
general knowledge of the effects of smoking, the supposed reason behind this issue and the family
attitude towards their children smoking.
The first section of the survey focused on the demographics of the respondents:
1. In the first question, the respondents were asked about their age. The figure below indicates
that most of our respondents (52.1%) are between the ages of 16 to 19. 33.3% of our
respondents are 20 to 24 years of age while 12.5% are 25 to 30, and lastly, only a few of
our respondents were in the age range of 13 to 15.
2. In the second question, the respondents were asked about their gender. The graph below
shows that most of our respondents are females. 72% are females while 27.1% are males.
The next section mainly focuses on the respondent’s general attitude towards smoking.
3. In the third question, the respondents were asked about their opinion on smoking. As the
graph shows most of the respondents (52.1%) “strongly oppose” on the habit of smoking
indicating that they may believe that smoking is a harmful habit. However, 16.7% of the
respondents are “Neutral.” Which indicates that the respondents have neither a positive nor
a negative view on smoking. Yet around 10.4% of the respondents “strongly favour” the
habit of smoking.
4. In the fourth question, the respondents were asked if they believe that younger adults in the
UAE are affected by it. Surprisingly, most of our respondents (93.8%) agreed and think
that young adults are indeed affected by smoking either in a direct or an indirect way. While
the rest were neutral, none of our respondents disagreed with this statement.
5. In the fifth question, respondents were asked if they smoke. 77.1% of our respondents
answered with No. yet a concerning percentage of our respondents, around 22.9%,
answered with YES. Indicating that smoking may not be a widespread issue within the
young adult age range, yet some young adults do participate in this habit.
6. In the sixth question, respondents were asked about the main reasons why they began
smoking in the first place. As mentioned in the 5th question most of our respondents were
not smokers hence why most of the responses in the 6th question were “I have never been
a smoker”. Yet, from this graph, we can indicate the main causes of smoking in young
adults as the graph shows that relaxation and reduction of stress are the main causes why
young adults became regular smokers. Other factors such as being amongst smokers and
smoking to fit in were also two of the main causes that affected young adults to smoke
7. In the seventh question, respondents were asked about their family and friends smoking
habits. More than half of the respondents (54%) answered with “some”. While 22.9%
answered with “none.” Yet 16.7% of our respondents did admit that most or all the family
members and friend do indeed smoke. From this question we can conclude that family and
friends smoking habits may have a direct effect on the reason young adult’s smoke.
This section focuses on the general knowledge of the respondents on the habit of smoking.
8. The eighth question asks the respondents about the role of school in teaching kids about
the dangers of smoking. Fortunately, most of our respondents were taught in schools about
the risks that smoking causes. Yet, 22.9% said that they were taught about the dangers of
smoking. This indicates that most schools are doing a decent job teaching young kids about
the health risks that are linked with smoking yet, few schools need to emphasize and pay
more attention to teaching this topic to kids.
9. In the ninth question, respondents were asked about the main causes that influence young
adults to smoke. Half of the respondents believe that smoking mainly happens because of
family and friends’ influence which means that family and friends are the main cause of
smoking in young adults. Around 18.8% choose stress as the main factor that influences
smoking which shows that smoking acts as a stress reliever for young adult smokers. 16.7%
believe that peer pressure causes young adults to smoke which means that young adults
mainly smoke because of pressure from their friends and family. Lastly, 8.3% of the
respondents choose social inclusion as the main reason that causes smoking in young
adults. This indicates that young adults smoke to feel included in their social groups.
The last section tries to investigate the respondent’s family’s attitude regarding the habit of
10. The tenth question focuses on young adult families’ general opinions on smoking. As the
graph shows, 66.7% of the respondent’s families are against smoking completely which
explains why most of our respondents were not regular smokers. However, 31.3% of the
respondents say that their family allows smoking but for certain ages and situations which
shows that a decent percentage of young adults are allowed to smoke if they reach a certain
age or if they encounter certain situations that can cause them to smoke like stress or family
The results of the survey show that the issue of smoking in young adults is not a prevailing issue
in the UAE as most of our respondents were not regular smokers, yet it is a rising phenomenon
that needs attention. From the survey, we can see that most of the respondents agree and see young
adults as a target of smoking, and one of the main factors that influence this action is the influence
that family and friends have on young adults. Imitating family members who smoke and smoking
to feel included in their social circle were two of the main causes that led young adults to become
regular smokers. There are other factors to consider such as stress as adolescents smoke to feel
relief from the stress that they go through in their daily lives. Smoking is a serious topic that can
lead to many health issues, so it is important to pay good attention to it and its causes to avoid its
spread in the future.
4. Explore and explain:
In this research, we will be shedding the light on an important issue that is common nowadays
which is teenagers smoking in the UAE. lately, we are seeing teenagers smoking everywhere we
go since smoking attracted them as it becomes one of the trends, so children start following the
trends thinking as if it is a cool thing to do without knowing how harmful smoking is and its effects
on their breathing and their entire health.
We have chosen this issue and concentrated on teenagers because it is a problem that people are
dealing with their teenagers who are at a higher risk of having problems and being affected by
them. Besides, it has many huge negative effects on the smoker and the society in general in the
United Arab Emirates, and raising awareness of its dangers will develop the risk of having shortterm & Long-terms problems. Sort-term problems such as lung damage which will be more acute
with time as they continue smoking, and delicate skin which looks dry & old. As much as,
developing yellowing teeth and fingertips. Long-term problems could be lost for the rest of their
life such as emphysema, stroke, heart disease, and cancer.
This is an important issue to talk about because researchers have proven that cigarette smoking
during childhood and adolescence causes significant health problems among young people,
including an increase in the number and severity of respiratory illnesses, decreased physical
fitness, and potential effects on lung growth and function. Furthermore, if current tobacco uses
patterns continue, an estimated 5.6 million children under the age of 18 will die prematurely from
a smoking-related disease. So, it is our responsibility to spread and talk more about this issue
because children believe that if they smoke several times, they will not get addicted to it, and they
will not become a regular smoker because they can stop smoking anytime, they want which is a
wrong statement that we should correct it.
5. What are the reasons/root causes of the issue?
For a multitude of reasons, including cigarette cravings, stress from family problems, financial
challenges in attempting to make ends meet on their own, and being continuously around smokers
as friends or partners who smoked. “During interviews, several young women directly challenged
the idea that the primary reason women relapse to smoking is due to weight gain, noting that they
found this idea demeaning“. (Nichter, 2015-02-13) Throughout high school to young adulthood, the
top reasons for smoking among these women were social convenience, managing stress and
challenges in their daily life, and cravings associated to nicotine dependence.
What are the effects of the issue?
“The individuals surveyed claimed they were not thinking about how smoking might affect their
health when they began to smoke; instead, they were focused on trying something new and
exciting”. (1938-, 2001)
o Individual / personal level
➢ Atherosclerosis/ aortic aneurysm
Cigarette smoking is the most powerful risk factor predicts posing atherosclerotic peripheral
vascular disease. 1983
➢ Cerebrovascular disease
Cigarette smoking is a major cause of cerebrovascular disease (stroke), the third leading
cause of death in the United States. 1989
➢ Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
Cigarette smoking is the worthiest cause of chronic bronchitis in the United States and
increases the risk of dying from chronic bronchitis. 1964
Cigarette smoking is the most important of the causes of 1967-1979 chronic non-neoplastic
bronchopulmonary diseases in the United States. It increases the risk of dying not only
from chronic bronchitis, but also from pulmonary emphysema. (1938-, 2001)
o National / Social level
“People will ask you why, definitely they ask, “Oh, you do not smoke?” And when you
say “no,” they’ll say, “Wow, good for you.” It is the same with drinking. But nobody would
ask you why you do not smoke, because it is obvious—you are killing yourself!” (Nichter,
2015-02-13). The main reason for her resumption of smoking was the strained relationships
with relatives and especially family, so they tend to smoke at an age when their body does
not allow them to bear the health consequences in the future. As a result, the environment
plays a significant role in the development of a healthy human being. Many smokers who
tried to quit returned to smoking for a variety of reasons, including loneliness and relief
from difficult family life.
o Global level
Tobacco use among teenagers is a worldwide issue. It poses a significant health risk to
teenagers and young adults, just as it does to adults, and has long-term consequences for
the country’s public and economic health. “The influence of tobacco uses on chronic
disease, which accounts for 75% of all healthcare spending in the United States, is welldocumented and irrefutable. Despite advances since the first Surgeon General’s report on
smoking and health in 1964” (Preventing Tobacco Use Among Youth and Young Adults: A
Report of the Surgeon General, 2012), Every fourth senior in high school now smokes. “Most
child smokers develop into adult smokers. Tobacco-related diseases claim the lives of 50%
of adult smokers” (Preventing Tobacco Use Among Youth and Young Adults: A Report of the
Surgeon General, 2012). Despite millions of media reports and thousands of programs
targeted at preventing teen smoking.
What actions are the UAE government taking to resolve this issue?
The UAE government made outstanding efforts by increasing the cost of smoking through
taxes, launching long-term social marketing programs, and guaranteeing that health experts
consistently counsel smokers to quit smoking and provide behavioral and pharmaceutical
“Federal Law No.15 of 2009 regarding Tobacco Control forbids and penalizes: the sale of
tobacco products to those under 18” (Tobacco provisions, 2021)
6. Recommendations and solutions
Take a stand on menthol
The tobacco industry has a long history of targeting the African American community with
menthol cigarette marketing and contributions. The NAACP made menthol a part of its
national platform last year with a resolution that supports local and state policy efforts to
restrict the sale of menthol. Tobacco has a disproportionate toll on the black community
and other marginalized groups, according to research.
Keep tobacco out of store inventories
CVS Health removed cigarettes, and all other tobacco products, from their 7,600 stores
across the country in 2014. David Casey said research shows that the move is linked to
CVS customers being 38 percent more likely to stop buying cigarettes. “You’re selling a
product that is going to get rid of half of your consumer base”.
Implement smoke-free policies on college campuses
CVS Health is teaming with Truth Initiative to help community colleges and historically
black colleges and universities become tobacco- or smoke-free. 99 percent of people start
smoking before turning 27 years old, and these colleges tend to serve more minority, lowincome, and first-generation students.
Remove cigarettes from treatment facilities
People with mental and behavioral health disorders consume up to 46 percent of cigarettes
in the U.S (United States) (United States) (United States). Many treatment centers do not
have smoke-free policies and do not offer cessation services. Expert: “Many of those old
myths have to be busted and replaced with the facts”.
Make programs culturally appropriate
Tobacco programs should be culturally relevant and competent for the audience they are
trying to reach, say experts from the Human Rights Campaign and NAACP. Many
individuals belong to multiple high-risk populations and young people are “very often
much more open and willing to also see intersectionality,” said Innocent from the NAACP.
Engage youth-serving professions
A study found that fewer than half of adolescents who visited a doctor in the last year were
asked if they use tobacco. There are opportunities to make tobacco prevention “part of a
holistic look at the emotional and physical well-being of young people”.
Build coalitions that look like the communities they serve
Coalitions can come together to focus on evidence-based practices, such as quit lines that
offer nicotine replacement therapy. “You have to work to change the culture of tobacco use
acceptance,” Reed said. The Warner Series is named for Dr. Ken Warner, an economist by
training and distinguished professor at the University of Michigan School of Public Health.
• Use nicotine replacement therapy.
• Get rid of the reminders like lighter and others.
• Have a support system.
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