I am graciously accepting ProfessorTall007’s offer to continue the second part of her series concerning the root causes of smoking and its effects on unemployment and vice versa. Having had no practice in scholarly writing for the last ten years, I’m going to take the informal and speculative approach based merely on my personal observations. Unfortunately, I will have to premise these assumptions on my wanton addiction with Google News, Reddit and social media. The objective of this blog post: to supplement Professor Tall’s earlier conclusion that unemployment has an effect on the behavior of the young adult generation of today.
As of May 2013, these are the unemployment numbers in the following countries (Data: Worldbank):
- United States 7.6%
- Spain 26.9%
- Germany 5.3%
- France 10.9%
- Philippines 7.5%
The numbers are staggering yet in no way tell us of the stories simmering beneath them. One important disclosure before I begin: I do not live in the United States nor have I ever been to its shores. However, I do have my daily intake of popular American culture via our American-centric culture, media and of course the Internet. Moreover, I know it may hurt many of my Filipino brethren, but unfortunately it’s true. We Filipinos are heavily influenced by everything that is American. But that’s for another discussion.
Evidently, the scholarly literature concerning a correlation with unemployment and smoking is plentiful. An abstract of “Unemployment, cigarette smoking, alcohol consumption and body weight in young British men“ by Scott Montgomery and others, in the European Journal of Public Health Vol. 8, Issue 1 confirms an already popularly held notion that “Unemployment may play a significant part in establishing life-long patterns of hazardous behavior in young men”. The study was conducted in Britain. (Source)
This was also echoed in “Smoking habits—a question of trend or unemployment? A comparison of young men and women between boom and recession” published in Family Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Umeå University in Sweden. In the abstract, M. Novo and his team poses that “smoking habits were found to be a question of both unemployment and tobacco trends in society.”
In ProfessorTall007’s own words, “As I continue to reflect on issues concerning today's youth, I dare to say: hopelessness, nicotine/ drug addiction, and suicide whether combined or taken separately constitute the real smoking gun of the consequences of youth unemployment in 2013.”
Now I would be a fool if I tried to answer this issue that predominantly traces its roots to American economics and politics. It would be easy to come up with clever sound bites like, “We need to create more jobs and opportunities and this – [insert your own agenda] is the way to do it”
However, I am not a politician.
What I would focus instead is the universality of this issue. The studies I have cited have been conducted in Britain and in Sweden, which are both a long way from the US. However, if you dig deeper and peruse Google Scholar’s archives and key in the words “unemployment” and “smoking” in the same search box, you’d have a preponderance of evidence suggesting the same conclusion for the United States. Unemployment and depression are indeed major factors when it comes to smoking and this holds true for most of the world.
Rather than formulating my own conclusion, in this case I’d like end this post by opting for something inspirational instead. If you are young and unemployed right now and reading this, I would like to offer this unsolicited tidbit: there is hope both in terms of your current state in employment and your smoking habit.
By going to this website and by reading this today, you have been given the power to choose your destiny regardless of what situation you are in today. You just to take the first step and believe.
Creative Commons Image via Flickr.