the novel, The Catcher in the Rye,
the vice of smoking is commonly portrayed throughout the entire story. The protagonist, Holden Caulfield, often uses
smoking as a form of escape from conflicts he came across, or used smoking to
help him deal with stress and to settle his nerves. He tends to rely on smoking for plenty of
situations that he is put into and majority of the time, he does not even
notice that he is smoking. Holden claims
that he barely smokes cigarettes but in reality, he smokes like a chimney. He is addicted to the nicotine that is in the
tobacco of cigarettes. This is still a
problem in today’s society with teenagers, such as Holden, that smoke because
they do not realize how unhealthy smoking may be, as well as how damaging it
actually is. Although teenagers do not
smoke cigarettes as much as Holden did in his time, due to its lack of
popularity, smoking marijuana is the newest trend for this generation. Smoking
is an important issue that still affects teenagers today.
Firstly, marijuana, also known as
cannabis, weed, and pot, along with plenty of other names, is a dark green-gray
mixture of dried flowers of the Cannabis Sativa. Marijuana can be smoked in plenty of
different ways. It can be hand rolled as
a cigarette, also called a joint, in pipes, water pipes, vaporizers, or in
blunts (marijuana rolled in cigar wraps).
It can also be used to brew tea, but in that particular situation,
marijuana is used for medicinal purposes.
It is also frequently mixed into foods, such as cookies, brownies, and
candies. There are stronger forms of
marijuana, for instance, sinsemilla and concentrated resins containing high
doses of the drug’s active ingredients, including waxy budder and honeylike
hash oil. These resins are becoming very
popular among those who use them, both for recreational and medicinal
purposes. The main mind-altering
chemical in cannabis that is responsible for the intoxicating effects that
people pursue is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol or THC. “The chemical that is found in resin is produced
by the leaves of the female cannabis plant. The plant contains more than five hundred other
chemicals, including more than one hundred compounds that are related to THC.” (What is
Secondly, teenagers use marijuana
for many different reasons, some of which include making themselves feel
better, and to help them cope with anxiety, anger and depression. They will also smoke cannabis as a form of
escape, but boredom is one of the main reasons why teens start smoking. Teenagers, who have been physically or
sexually abused as a child, have a more likelihood to start smoking than other
teens. They turn to drugs as an escape
from the fear and pain of the abuse they have experienced. If a teenager grew up in a household or
neighbourhood with family members, friends, or neighbors that smoke or express
approval of marijuana, the teenager is more likely to start smoking it. Peer pressure still remains the strongest and
biggest influence as to why teenagers start smoking marijuana today. Some teens also start smoking because they
are not aware of the harm that the drug can do to the brain, which is still
developing at their age, or the body.
They have either not been informed of the damage it can cause, or they
have been misinformed about it.
Thirdly, a survey suggested that in
2015, about seventeen percent of Canadian teenagers smoke marijuana. These are teenagers that are between the age
of thirteen and eighteen. This raises
suspicions for the Liberals as they are about to legalize marijuana later in
the year. They intend to keep teenagers
away from the drug and plan on cutting them from the “criminal element of the
business” (Niesner, 2016).
The amount of teenagers that smoke tobacco is down to three percent, as
of 2015, and is gradually decreasing overtime.
The survey also suggests that marijuana has increased vastly in
popularity for teenagers, as opposed to tobacco, causing more teenagers to
smoke cannabis. Another survey also
demonstrates that about eighteen percent of teens have taken a puff of a joint
to try, but have never smoked afterwards.
These surveys indicate that because marijuana is increasing in
popularity, more and more teens are starting to try it and smoke it. Canadian teenagers are twice as more likely
to try smoking cannabis than adults, and they have the highest rate of marijuana
use in developed countries.
Lastly, there are multiple effects
that smoking marijuana can have on a teenager’s brain such as, learning
problems and exhausted brains, a decrease in IQ, risk of psychosis, and a hazy
future. Marijuana hijacks the normal
brain of teens and plenty of scientists believe that it causes permanent damage
on the development of the brain. A study
showed that regular cannabis users had increased brain activities and although
that may seem like a good thing, it actually causes the brain to work harder
and has to engage more resources to respond accurately. The earlier and more frequently that a
teenager smokes marijuana, the greater chance of the loss of intelligence by
the age of thirty-eight. Teenagers who
also started smoking early on in their life and had consistently smoked until
adulthood can demonstrate a six point IQ drop.
In 2002, a study found that the use of cannabis in adolescence can
significantly increase the probability of developing schizophrenia in
adulthood, especially if the teenager had been smoking the drug since they were
fifteen years-old. Teenagers who smoke
marijuana are sixty percent less likely to finish high school or get a
university degree due to their drug abuse.
In conclusion, smoking is an issue for teenagers
that will vastly increase in the future and will only get worse. Although Holden did not smoke what teenagers
in modern society smoke, there is still the issue of smoking underage and it is
definitely a concern that will never go away for adolescents. Teenagers are not aware of the effects that
smoking may possibly do to their body and minds, when they start smoking
consistently. It is also difficult to
quit smoking once a teen starts, due to the addictive chemicals in the
drug. This will not only cause
difficulties for them in the future, but it also may shorten their life
expectancy and they may develop problems because of smoking at such a young
age. Smoking has affected teenagers for
generations, and will continue to be an issue that affects them in the future.