Facts about Smoking
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Talk with your
kids about tobacco
The Surgeon Generals Report contains six major conclusions about kids and smoking:
More teenagers have tried Electronic Cigarettes than adults, with statistics showing as many as 10% of high school students having tried the latest trend in smoking compared with only 2.7% of adults.
Many teenagers are smoking E-cigarettes because they feel they are safe or cool. Regardless of how its delivered, however, nicotine is still a highly addictive drug that should be avoided by everyone, especially growing teens.
Spit Tobacco Facts
Spit tobacco (a.k.a. smokeless tobacco, dip, snuff, chew, and chewing tobacco) contains ingredients that can cause serious health problems. The amount of nicotine in one dip, or chew, of spit tobacco can deliver up to 5 times the amount found in one cigarette.
The amount of nicotine in one dip, or chew, of spit tobacco can deliver up to 5 times the amount found in one cigarette. For example, a thirty-minute chew gives you the same amount of nicotine as three cigarettes and a two can/week snuff dipper delivers the same nicotine as a 1 1/2 pack-a-day cigarette habit.
Spit tobacco users are 50 times more likely than nonusers to contract cancers of the cheek, gums, and inner surface of the lips.
Exposure to tobacco juice can induce cancers of the esophagus, larynx, stomach, pancreas, and prostate
Here's some good news!
People working in their communities, kids who warn each other about the dangers of smoking, for example, and programs that make it harder for stores to sell tobacco to kids, are helping to keep kids away from tobacco.
For more information, call toll free any time 1.800.ACS.2345 or visit www.cancer.org.
Sources: TIME - Numbers; Smoke-Free Washington; Freevibe: Drugs and the Environment; Sunny Side of Truth and the American Cancer Society
Marlboro Man may be Impotent
If you think "Smoking makes a man," it's more apt to make a dead man.
If you smoke, now is
the right time to quit.
Facts about Nonsmokers
More than 30 million Americans have kicked the cigarette habit. Millions more are trying. Among adults, only one in three still smokes. In the population as a whole, it's one in four. Nonsmokers are a clear majority They are also no longer a silent majority. They mind if you smoke. And they're speaking up. They see tobacco smoke as a pollutant that defiles their air. And an increasing body of research gives them ammunition to defend themselves. It shows that secondhand smoke can have harmful effects on nonsmokers.
Tobacco smoke is a very complex mixture. There are thousands of chemical compounds in burning tobacco. Some of the most hazardous compounds are tar, nicotine, carbon monoxide, cadmium, nitrogen dioxide, ammonia, benzene, formaldehyde and hydrogen sulfide. And dozens of others. Any one alone can assault the body and case trouble. Together, they make smoking the menace it is. Even when a smoker inhales, researchers have calculated that two-thirds of the smoke from the burning cigarette goes into the environment. The percentage of pollution from cigar and pipe smoke is even higher. Cigarette smoke makes a significant, measurable contribution to the level of indoor air pollution.
Every time anyone lights a cigarette or cigar or pipe, tobacco smoke enters the atmosphere from two sources. Most important for nonsmokers, there is sidestream smoke, which goes directly into the air from the burning end. Then, there is mainstream smoke, which the smoker pulls through the mouthpiece when they inhale or puff. Nonsmokers are also exposed to mainstream smoke after the smoker exhales. A cigarette smoker inhales - and exhales - mainstream smoke eight or nine time with each cigarette for a total of about 24 seconds. But the cigarette burns for 12 minutes and pollutes the air continuously with sidestream smoke. Smokers can keep cigars and pipes burning for a much longer time. The pollution lingers long after. Sidestream smoke - the smoke from the burning end - had higher concentrations of noxious compounds than the mainstream smoke inhaled by the smoker. Some studies show there is twice as much tar and nicotine in sidestream smoke compared to mainstream. And three times as much of a compound called benzo(a)pyrene, which is suspected as a cancer-causing agent. Almost three times as much carbon monoxide, which robs the blood of oxygen. And 73 times as much ammonia. Before the nonsmoker inhales secondhand smoke, however, some of the high concentrations of hazardous substances are diluted in the ambient air. The smoker, on the other hand, inhales both firsthand and secondhand smoke. Nearly 85 percent of the smoke in a room results from sidestream smoke.
Assaults in the Air
Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas created by incomplete combustion. Car exhaust puts it in the air. So does tobacco smoke. When you inhale carbon monoxide, the gas bumps oxygen molecules out of your red blood cells and forms a new compound called carboxyhemoglobin. As the amount of this compound increases in your blood, the body becomes starved for oxygen. The Federal Air Quality Standards for the outside air limit carbon monoxide concerntrations to an average of 9 ppm. Several studies show that in rooms where smokers are present, levels of carbon monoxide can rise about those permitted for the outside air. When nonsmokers leave a smoky environment, it takes hours for the carbon monoxide to leave the body. After three or hour hours, carbon monoxide is still in the bloodstream. Elevated levels of other harmful agents - nitrogen dioxide, nicotine and respirable particulates, aldehydes, and nitrosamines - have been measured in smoky rooms. Nitrosamines have been identified as cancer-causing substances.
Smoke at the Workplace
A study of nonsmokers exposed to tobacco smoke at work for many years showed a dysfunction in the small airways of the lungs of the nonsmokers. This dysfunction is a biological response due to irritation. The nonsmoker is clearly affected in a physiological sense. A recent study showed that 50 percent of nonsmoking employees reported difficulty working near a smoker. Another 36 percent said they were forced to move away often from their desks or work stations because of secondhand smoke. An increasing number of state and local laws now restrict smoking at the workplace. The central concept of these laws is this principle: the preferences of nonsmokers and smokers will be addressed and accommodated, whenever possible. However, when these preferences conflict, the rights and preferences of the nonsmokers will prevail. More and more private companies also are adopting policies that restrict smoking and protect the nonsmoker at work.
Effects on Children
Babies and young children breathe more rapidly than adults. Because of this higher breathing rate, they inhale more air - and more pollution - in comparison to their total body weight. Some studies show youngsters inhale two to three times as much of a pollutant per unit of body weight compared to adults. And this assault happens when young lungs are growing and developing. A number of studies show that in their first year, babies of parents who smoke at home have a much higher incidence of lung disease, specifically bronchitis and pneumonia, than babies with nonsmoking parents. A study of the lung function of children aged five to nine showed an adverse reaction in the small airways of children who ad smoking parents, compared with those whose parents were nonsmokers. Smoking by the mother appears to have the most impact on the lung function of the child. The American Lung Association is encouraging smoke-free families so that children can have the best chance to grow up healthy. Parents who smoke at home can aggravate symptoms in some children with asthma and even trigger asthma episodes. Millions of people, adults as well as children, are sensitive to tobacco smoke and suffer smoke-caused asthma episodes. Parents should limit their smoking to separate rooms away from these children or, better yet, should quit smoking altogether. Even among non asthmatic children, a team of researchers found that respiratory illnesses happen twice as often to young children whose parents smoked at home compared to those with nonsmoking parents. In a study of 441 nonsmokers divided into two groups - those with a history of allergies and those without - 70 percent of both groups suffered from eye irritations caused by smoke. Even among the non allergic groups, 30 percent developed headaches and nasal discomfort, while 25 percent experienced cough.
Second hand Smoke and Lung Cancer
Some studies have found an increased risk of lung cancer in nonsmoking wives married to men who smoke. Although the studies are too few as yet to conclude a definite association, between secondhand smoke and lung cancer, the findings have raised concern. Since there are cancer-causing agents in cigarette smoke, it is not unreasonable to expect that inhaling these agents firsthand or secondhand could cause disease. Exposure to tobacco smoke may be similar to exposure to radiation: there are no safe levels.
Contamination and odors are immediately created by such elements in tobacco smoke as ammonia and pyridine. Pyridine is a strong irritant that is produced when nicotine burns. The presence of a minute amount in the air produces distinctly unpleasant odors. The contamination is so intense that when someone smokes in an air-conditioned environment, the air-conditioning demands can jump as much as 600 percent to control odor. Another intriguing finding from air-conditioning research is that the human body attracts tobacco smoke. Burning tobacco smoke creates a high electrical potential, whereas the water-filled human body has a low one. The smoke in a room gravitates and clings to people in much the same way as iron filings are drawn to a magnet. And the odors linger on. Chemicals in tobacco smoke called aldehydes and ketones supply the penetrating smell, while the tars hold them to your skin and your clothes. But the smoker is not sensitive to the smell because of the destructive effects of smoke on the inner lining of his or her nose.
A Smoke-Free Society
In the mid-80's, the Surgeon General had proposed that America become a smoke-free society by the year 2000. We didn't make it. A Gallup survey, conducted for the American Lung Association in the 1980s, revealed that the majority of both smokers and nonsmokers believe smoking is hazardous to the health of nonsmokers. Translating these beliefs into social action is the challenge.
The Right to Breathe Clean Air
Nonsmokers have the right to breathe clean air, free from harmful and irritating tobacco smoke. This right supersedes the right to smoke when the two conflict.
The Right to Speak Out
Nonsmokers have the right to express - firmly but politely - their adverse reactions to tobacco smoke. They have the right to voice their objections when smokers light up. Nonsmokers have the right to act through legislative channels, social pressures or any other legitimate means - as individuals, or in groups - to prevent or discourage smokers from polluting the atmosphere and to seek the restriction of smoking in public places.
Primary Source: American Lung
Teenagers and Oral Health
When looking at e-cigarettes and oral health, especially in relation to teenagers, its important to remember that an e-cigarette is still primarily a nicotine delivery device and theres little debate as to the effects of nicotine on the body.
The truth is, no one is completely
sure about the long-term health effects of e-cigarettes
which can make them a particular concern for adolescents.
Many teenagers are smoking e-cigarettes because they feel
they are safe or cool. Regardless of how its
delivered, however, nicotine is still a highly addictive
drug that should be avoided by everyone, especially growing
teens. With few laws banning their use among young people,
its important to educate your children about the
potential hazards of this growing trend.
American Indians and Alaska Natives
Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders
Mexican Americans and Latinos:
of Fireplace Smoke
Most people are aware that outdoor air pollution can damage their health but may not know that indoor air pollution can all have significant effects. EPA studies of human exposure to air pollutants indicate that indoor air levels of many pollutants may be two to five times, and occasionally, more than 100 times, higher than outdoor levels. These levels of indoor air pollutants are of particular concern because it is estimated that most people spend as much as 9-% of their time indoors.
Over the past several decades, our exposure to indoor air pollutants is believed to have increased due to a variety of factors, including the construction of more tightly sealed buildings, reduced ventilation rates to save energy, the use of synthetic building materials and furnishings, and the use of chemically formulated personal care products, pesticides and household cleaners.
In recent years, comparative risk studies performed by EPA and its Science Advisory Board (SAB) have consistently ranked indoor air pollution among the top five environmental risks to public health. EPA, in close cooperation with other Federal agencies and the private sector, is actively involved in a concerted effort to better understand indoor air pollution and to reduce people's exposure to air pollutants in offices, homes, schools and other indoor environments where people live, work and play.
Indoor pollution sources that release gases or particles into the air are the primary cause of indoor air quality problems in homes. Inadequate ventilation can increase indoor pollutant levels by not bringing in enough outdoor air to dilute emissions from indoor sources and by not carrying indoor air pollutants out of the home. High temperature and humidity levels can also increase concentrations of some pollutants.
There are many sources of indoor air pollution in any home. These include combustion sources such as oil, gas, kerosene, coal, wood and tobacco products; building materials and furnishings as diverse as deteriorated, asbestos-containing insulation, wet or damp carpet, and cabinetry or furniture made of certain pressed wood products; products for household cleaning and maintenance, personal care, or hobbies; central heating and cooling systems and humidification devices; and outdoor sources such as radon, pesticides and outdoor air pollution.
The relative importance of any single source depends on how much of a given pollutant it emits and how hazardous those emissions are. In some cases, factors such as how old the source is and whether it is properly maintained are significant. For example, an improperly adjusted gas stove can emit significantly more carbon monoxide than one that is properly adjusted.
Some sources, such as building materials, furnishings, and household products like air fresheners, release pollutants more or less continuously. Other sources, related to activities carried out in the home, release pollutants intermittently. These including smoking, the use of unvented or malfunctioning stoves, furnaces, or space heaters, the use of solvents in cleaning and hobby activities, the use of paint strippers in redecorating activities, and the use of cleaning products and pesticides in housekeeping. High pollutant concentrations can remain in the air for long periods after some of these activities.
If too little outdoor air enters a home, pollutants can accumulate to levels that can pose health and comfort problems. Unless they are built with special mechanical means of ventilation, homes that are designed and constructed to minimize the amount of outdoor air that can "leak" into and out of the home may have higher pollutant levels than other homes. However, because some weather conditions are drastically reduce the amount of outdoor air that enters a home, pollutants can build up even in homes that are normally considered "leaky".
Look for more information? The EPA has
a number of helpful publications on indoor air quality,
available by writing Environmental Protection Agency,
National Center for Environmental Publications (NSCEP),
PO Box 42419, Cincinnati, OH 42419. You can also fax
your request to them at 513.489.8695 or www.epa.gov/iaq/
New study on
Last Wednesday Rose presented her findings on the different categories of women smokers and the most effective means of helping them to quit. Rose identified three categories of women smokers: Happy Working Women, Careless College Students, and Hooked and Unhappy. Female smokers on campus fall into her Careless College Students category. According to Rose, the women in this category do not like to be told that their habit is an addiction, as they are at a state in their lives when their future health is not so important.
One smoker, Francesca Geiger 07, supported Rose's claim, saying that most students are aware of the risks.
You think you're resilient, Geiger said. It's not something you don't know; it's just something you don't want to think about right now.
Geiger began smoking in high school, a time in her life when she was very active in basketball and other sports.
Although it did give me a bit of a cough and definitely slowed me down on court, I made up for it in other ways, she said. Because I am so tall and big, I made up for my slowness by scoring a basket once I got down court. I guess you could say I used my body as an excuse.
Professor Rose also discussed young women's anger at being told that they have an addiction.
Erin Moore 07 suggested that, for some women, smoking involved rejecting the norms and expectations of society.
I think that a lot of women smoke because smoking for women is about rejecting what it means to be feminine, Moore said. Femininity is associated with purity, cleanliness, and lack of toxins, and a woman who smokes is the exact opposite.
A freshman smoker admitted that she would quit smoking if any serious health problems occurred, but she otherwise was not planning on quitting anytime soon. She admits that she probably should cut down on her smoking habits, but cites the social aspects of smoking as one of her main incentives not to quit.
Especially as a freshman, it helps in social situations, she said. It's weird enough being alone at a party, but if you have a cigarette, it's less awkward. It also gives you a reason to leave really bad or boring parties because you have to go outside to smoke.
Megan Lollie 07 agreed that smoking is an important social aspect of the campus.
When I'm here, it's a big part of my life, Lollie said. It's all around you, so you are constantly presented with smoking, which I don't think is something that happens as much in the real world.
Geiger expressed similar feelings, stating that she was also fully aware of the dangers.
It's not something you don't know, she said. I mean, hello, I have the pack in front of me and I can just as easily read the little surgeon general's warning on the back to learn about all the bad things that cigarettes can do to me It's a risk I'm willing to take now.
Moore further expressed the difficulties of defending herself in such situations.
When someone tells you that you are addicted, it's very frustrating trying to convince them that you're not, she said. You are getting involved in objective discourse that automatically guarantees that if you smoke, you're addicted.
It is also interesting to note the dichotomy between the quitting dates that senior and freshman smokers set for themselves. While the freshman claimed that she would like to quit soon, preferably after this semester, the seniors have not set such permanent dates.
I think if I were to quit, then it would have to be at a time in my life when I want to make a big change, like getting a drastic haircut, Moore said. It really would be a break with something I'm very accustomed to, and I'm not yet ready for that.
I don't see any reason to stop smoking now, Lollie said. I have sort of told myself not to smoke while I'm pregnant, so I guess I'll quit when I have kids, because I don't want to put their health into danger.
Geiger admitted that she feels that smoking is just a college thing.
My parents and I have been talking, and I feel like once I'm out of college, I'll probably make a greater effort to stop smoking, she said.
As for now, most of the girls have
confirmed that they plan to continue smoking until they feel
that it is time to give it up. This complacent attitude
seems to match Rose's categorization of the Careless
College Students. These women, while somewhat
concerned with their own well- being, seem to lack both the
time and the incentive to worry, as of now, about long-term
The STATE System was developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the Office on Smoking and Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.
Editor's Note: Oregon is one of
six states that doesn't report data.
Linked to Stillbirths, Study Says
Saudi Arabia Sues
Tobacco Industry for Billions in Health Costs
Ga. Supreme Court
Says Tobacco Settlement Bars Lawsuits
Damages for Secondhand Smoke Exposure
Easier for Older Female Smokers
Who Smoke May Put Their Babies at Risk for Pyloric
Cancer Rates, Prevention
Researchers found infertile men who smoked show signs of significant oxidative damage in their semen. Oxidative damage is known to harm fertility and is caused by increased stress on normal body processes.
The findings appear in the September issue of Fertility and Sterility.
"Given the known potential adverse effects of [oxidative stress] on fertility, physicians should advise infertile men who smoke cigarettes to quit," writes study researcher Saleh A. Ramadan, MD, with colleagues at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Ohio. "This argument against smoking is true for anyone wishing to conceive but is particularly important for individuals experiencing fertility problems."
Although cigarette smoking already has been shown to hurt female fertility, researchers say the impact on male fertility remains a controversial issue because studies have produced contradictory results.
In this study, researchers compared semen samples from 52 infertile men -- 20 smokers and 32 nonsmokers -- with samples from 13 healthy, nonsmoking men. They found "dramatically" more oxidative stress levels in the smokers.
No significant differences in standard sperm variables, such as sperm count or activity, or DNA damage were found between the infertile smokers and nonsmokers, but researchers say the fact that both groups were infertile may have obscured some levels of DNA damage.
But men who smoked also had 48% more
infection-fighting white blood cells in their semen than
nonsmokers or healthy donors, which may also cause problems
Groups Call For Movie Ratings To Factor In Tobacco
Disillusioned And Over-Optimistic About Quitting
In Your Mind
Association Recommends Screenings
Deadlier Than Labels Suggest
Between European Commission And WHO To Fight Against
Communicable Diseases, Tobacco And Other Health Threats
Removes "Light" From Packaging
Women Smokers Bear Low Birth Weight Babies
sitters may expose infants to second-hand smoke
Some 12- and 13-year-olds showed evidence of addiction within days of their first cigarette, according to research reported this week in the British Medical Association journal Tobacco Control.
"There's been a suspicion that many people become addicted very quickly, but this is really the first hard evidence that we've had that this occurs," said Dr. Richard Hurt, director of the Nicotine Dependency Unit at the Mayo Clinic.
Experts have tried for years to determine how long people have to smoke before becoming addicted, and "the best answer to date had been 1-2 years," said Hurt, who was not involved in the study.
He said the findings will help scientists better understand the biology of nicotine addiction and lend more plausibility to the idea that some people may be more genetically susceptible to it than others.
"The really important implication of this study is that we have to warn kids that you can't just fool around with cigarettes or experiment with cigarettes for a few weeks and then give it up," said Dr. Joseph DiFranza, who lead the research at the University of Massachusetts. "If you fool around with cigarettes for a few weeks, you may be addicted for life."
The study, conducted in 1998, followed 681 12- to 13-year-olds in central Massachusetts for a year and tracked their smoking habits.
The researchers did not label any of them addicted because the standard definition of nicotine dependence assumes addiction cannot happen without prolonged heavy smoking. The scientists simply recorded symptoms that indicate addiction.
These include cravings, needing more to get the same buzz, withdrawal symptoms when not smoking, feeling addicted to tobacco and loss of control over the number of cigarettes smoked or the duration of smoking.
Ninety-five of the youths said they had started smoking occasionally - at least one cigarette a month - during the study. The scientists found that 60, or 63 percent, had one or more symptoms of addiction.
A quarter of those with symptoms got them within two weeks of starting to smoke and several said their symptoms began within a few days.
Sixty-two percent said they had their first symptom before they began smoking every day, or that the symptoms made them start smoking daily.
The researchers found that the symptoms began soon after the teens started smoking.
Even though some people who have never smoked on a daily basis can find it hard to quit, the assumption that smokers only become addicted after smoking a lot of cigarettes over a long period of time came from observations that some people can smoke five cigarettes a day for many years and not become addicted, the study noted.
However, it has never been proven that daily smoking is necessary for addiction to begin, the study added.
The scientists suggested there may be three types of smokers: Those who become addicted very quickly, those who get hooked gradually after more regular smoking and those who can smoke lightly or pick up and drop the habit without becoming addicted.
It is also possible that adolescents
could be more sensitive to nicotine and that addiction may
take longer in people who start smoking at a later age, they
addiction can hit within days
"The first symptoms of nicotine dependence can appear within days to weeks of the onset of occasional use, often before the onset of daily smoking," the researchers from the University of Massachusetts and Harvard Medical School said in the journal Tobacco Control.
This research goes against a "popular model for the development of nicotine dependence (which) holds that youths progress from the first cigarette through a period of occasional use and on to sustained and increasingly heavier daily use, resulting ultimately in dependence," the researchers added.
The study of about 700 teenagers aged between 12 and 13 from seven schools in central Massachusetts in 1998 showed that 95 students could be described as monthly smokers--they smoked at least one cigarette a month.
Of these 95 monthly smokers one in five reported nicotine dependency symptoms within four weeks of starting to smoke and 16 developed symptoms within two weeks, one of the researchers, Joseph DiFranza, told Reuters.
In total 60 out of 95 monthly smokers said they had experienced one or more symptoms of nicotine dependence.
Thirty-seven of the 60 who had experienced symptoms of nicotine dependency said they had felt their first feelings of dependency even before they started smoking daily or began smoking daily only upon starting to feel dependent.
The researchers said experiments on mice showed the number of nicotine receptors in the brain increased rapidly after just the second dose of nicotine, providing a mechanism for the quick development of dependence.
The researchers further postulated that three groups of individuals distinguishable by their dependence on nicotine may exist. The groups could be described as rapid onset, slower onset and resistant to nicotine addiction, they added.
Smoking has been linked to several
diseases including lung cancer and asthma. Lung cancer is
the most common form of cancer in the world and is extremely
deadly. The American Cancer Society predicts 164,000
Americans will be diagnosed with the cancer this year and
156,000 will die of it. www.healthcentral.com/News/NewsFullText.cfm?ID=41099&storytype=ReutersNews
on Smokeless Tobacco, Snuff and DIP
The Surgeon General's Report for Kids about Smoking
Spit (Smokeless) Tobacco
The most serious health effect of spit tobacco is an increased risk of cancer of the mouth and pharynx. Oral cancer occurs several times more frequently among snuff dippers compared with non-tobacco users. The risk of cancer of the cheek and gums may increase nearly 50-fold among long-term snuff users.
Leukoplakia is a white sore or patch in the mouth that can become cancerous. Studies have consistently found high rates of leukoplakia at the place in the mouth where users place the "chew." One study found that almost 3/4 of daily users of moist snuff, and chewing tobacco had non-cancerous or pre-cancerous lesions (sores) in the mouth. The longer you use spit tobacco, the more likely you are to have leukoplakia.
Studies have shown that about 7% to 27% of regular spit tobacco users have gum recession and bone loss around the teeth. The surface of the tooth root may be exposed where gums have drawn back. Tobacco can irritate or destroy the tissue.
Spit tobacco may also play a role in cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure. Nicotine enters the users' bloodstream through the lining of the mouth and/or the gastrointestinal tract. Nicotine causes your heart to beat faster and your blood pressure to go up.
Why Is It So Hard To Quit?
Spit tobacco delivers a high dose of nicotine. An average dose for snuff is 3.6 mg, for chewing tobacco, 4.6 mg - compared to 1.8 mg for cigarettes. Blood levels of nicotine throughout the day are similar among smokers and those who use spit tobacco.
A report in the Journal of the American Medical Association calculated that smokeless tobacco users ". . . who use dip or chew 8-10 times a day might be exposed to the same amount of nicotine as people who smoke 30-40 cigarettes a day." Stopping spit tobacco use causes symptoms of nicotine withdrawal that are similar to those smokers get when they quit.
In a study of Swedish oral snuff users, many of the participants said they were addicted to snuff, and they reported having as much trouble giving up spit tobacco as did cigarette smokers trying to quit smoking. Evidence also suggests that when regular snuff users can't use snuff, they will smoke cigarettes to satisfy their need for nicotine.
How Nicotine Affects the Body
Nicotine is a drug found naturally in tobacco. It is highly addictive, as addictive as heroin and cocaine. The body becomes physically and psychologically dependent on nicotine, and studies have shown that users must overcome both of these to be successful at quitting and staying quit.
Nicotine affects many parts of the body, including your heart and blood vessels, your hormonal system, your metabolism, and your brain. During pregnancy, nicotine freely crosses the placenta and has been found in amniotic fluid and the umbilical cord blood of newborn infants. Nicotine is metabolized mainly by the liver and lungs, but a small amount is excreted by the kidneys. Nicotine is broken down by the body into the by-products cotinine and nicotine-N'-oxide.
Nicotine produces pleasurable feelings that make the tobacco user want to use more and also acts as a depressant by interfering with the flow of information between nerve cells. As the nervous system adapts to nicotine, tobacco users tend to increase the amount of tobacco they use, and hence the amount of nicotine in their blood. After a while, the tobacco user develops a tolerance to the drug, which leads to an increased use over time. Eventually, the tobacco user reaches a certain nicotine level and then keeps up the usage to maintain this level of nicotine.
Immediate Benefits of Quitting
There are many reasons to stick it out through withdrawal and quit using tobacco for good. In addition to the health reasons mentioned earlier, consider the following.
Chewing and dipping carry a heavy social stigma, especially with the opposite sex. Bad breath, gum disease, and discolored teeth are very unappealing. The spitting associated with spit tobacco use is offensive and has a potential health risk as well.
The tobacco habit can be expensive. It isn't hard to figure out how much you spend on tobacco: multiply how much money you spend on tobacco every day by 365 (days per year). The amount may surprise you. Now multiply that by the number of years you have been using tobacco and that amount will probably astound you.
Multiply the cost per year by 10 (for the upcoming 10 years) and ask yourself what you would rather do with that much money. Do you really want to continue wasting your money with nothing to show for it except possible health problems?
If you have children, you want to set a good example for them. When asked, nearly all tobacco users say they don't want their children to chew or dip. You can become a good role model for them if you quit now.
Quitting Spit Tobacco
Surveys show that most people who use snuff or chew would like to quit. In one survey, more than half said they would try to quit in the next year.
In many ways, quitting spit tobacco is a lot like quitting smoking. Both involve tobacco products that contain nicotine and both involve the physical and psychological components of addiction. Many of the methods of handling the psychological hurdles of quitting are the same. Two elements are unique for smokeless users, however:
There is often a stronger need for oral substitutes to take the place of the chew or snuff.
Because spit tobacco often causes sores in the mouth and gum problems, the disappearance of these after quitting provides a readily visible benefit.
People can get help quitting by
calling ACS at 800.ACS.2345.
Is smokeless tobacco safer than
Finally, one more fact to chew on --
according to the SGR, kids who use smokeless tobacco are
more likely to start using cigarettes, too. That's a double
whammy that no healthy body can survive! So spit it out; say
no to smokeless tobacco.
6 Facts about Kids and Smoking
The Real Deal about Tobacco
The Surgeon General says that 3,000 kids start smoking every day. They must not know the facts about tobacco -- if they did, they'd stay miles away from the stuff! So let's cut through the smoke and get to the real deal about tobacco.
Most kids my age smoke...don't they?
The Real Deal
It might look that way, because tobacco companies pay lots of money to fill magazines and billboards with pictures of people smoking. But according to the Surgeon General, only 13 percent of (or 13 out of 100) adolescents have smoked in the last 30 days. And only 8 percent are "frequent" smokers. That means most kids -- 87 percent, to be exact -- are smart enough not to smoke.
We don't need to worry -- smoking won't affect our health until we're a lot older...right?
The Real Deal: You already know that smoking can cause things like cancer and heart disease, but the report also lists symptoms that start to develop as soon as you smoke your first cigarette -- no matter how young you are. These include shortness of breath, coughing, nausea, dizziness, and "phlegm production." Pretty gross, huh?
But if you only smoke a little bit, that can't hurt...can it?
The Real Deal: According to the Surgeon General, symptoms like wheezing and coughing have been found in kids who smoke just one cigarette a week.
Well, at least tobacco use doesn't lead to other drug use...does it?
The Real Deal: It doesn't always, but it certainly can. Many times tobacco is the first drug used by kids who use alcohol and illegal drugs. The SGR says that, compared with nonsmokers, kids who smoke are 3 times more likely to use alcohol. They're 8 times more likely to smoke marijuana, and 22 times more likely to use cocaine. Scary, huh?
Kids who smoke think they're cool...are they?
The Real Deal: Only if by "cool" you mean kids who probably aren't doing very well in school. The SGR found that students with the highest grades are less likely to smoke than those with the lowest grades. The same is true for smokeless tobacco -- daily tobacco use is highest among drop-outs, lowest among college students.
Kids who smoke have lower self-images. They look to smoking because they think it will give them a better image -- cooler, maybe, or more attractive, or more popular. And because their self-image is low, they don't have the confidence to say no when someone wants them to use tobacco.
Well, if smoking is so bad, all you have to do is quit. How hard can that be?
The Real Deal
Most teens who smoke want to stop. Nearly half of the high school seniors in the survey said they'd like to quit smoking. But they can't because, according to the SGR, "most young people who smoke daily are addicted to nicotine." In the same survey, about 40 percent said they tried to quit and couldn't.
So maybe we're better off if we never start smoking.
The Real Deal
Quitting is not a pretty sight,
because nicotine is as addictive as alcohol, heroin, or
cocaine. According to the SGR, when people quit, they might
experience "frustration, anger, anxiety, difficulty
concentrating, restlessness, and decreased heart rate." The
Surgeon General found that most smokers start before they
finish high school. So if you make it to graduation day
without starting to smoke, chances are you never will!
Up in Smoke!
The typical smoker spends about $700 a year on cigarettes. Think of what you could do with all that dough: Play 2,800 video-arcade games.
Have the world's greatest slumber party: Take your 40 best friends to the movies, then order 19 pizzas (with everything, of course!) to munch on while reading your 162 new comic books.
Talk on the phone to your friend in another state for 126 hours and 22 minutes.
Make a donation to your favorite charity. That way you could really help others!
Buy 1,400 seedlings to plant three acres of oak, hickory, walnut, or ash trees.
It's boring, we know, but if you put $700 every year in a bank account earning 5 percent interest, you'd have $25,003.47 after 20 years. With a sum like that you could really have some fun!
Is smokeless tobacco safer than cigarettes?
NO WAY! It's true that many people think smokeless tobacco (also known as chewing or spit tobacco, or snuff) isn't as bad as cigarettes. One study quoted in the SGR said that 77 percent of kids thought cigarette smoking was very harmful, but only 40 percent thought smokeless tobacco was very harmful. Very wrong! The truth is that smokeless tobacco use is connected with all sorts of problems.
BAD HEALTH! Smokeless tobacco can cause bleeding gums and sores of the mouth that never heal. Eventually you might end up with cancer.
TOUGH TO QUIT! Tobacco is tobacco: it all contains nicotine, and nicotine is addictive!
VERY DISGUSTING! It stains your teeth a yellowish-brown color. It gives you bad breath. It can make you dizzy, give you the hiccups, even make you throw up. (Definitely NOT cool!)
Finally, one more fact to chew on -- according to the SGR, kids who use smokeless tobacco are more likely to start using cigarettes, too. That's a double whammy that no healthy body can survive! So spit it out; say no to smokeless tobacco.
Be an Ad Buster
What is advertising? It's a way for companies to help sell their products (and make money). Unfortunately, tobacco ads don't tell the whole truth. They're a smoke screen designed to cover up one simple fact -- smoking is very, very bad for your health!
Even worse, some cigarette companies target their ads to kids. How? They use ads with bright colors and lots of pictures. And they put these ads in magazines that appeal to kids, like Sports Illustrated, Rolling Stone, and Mademoiselle.
The tobacco companies are selling an image to kids. Their ads try to make it look like you'll be independent if you smoke. But the best way to be independent is to think of yourself -- and not let a big company do your thinking for you. To get to the truth, we asked kids in Ignacio, a small town in the mountains of Colorado, to read between the lines of some popular ads
©Philip Morris Inc.
Michael Newman PHOTOEDIT Jeremy: "They make it seem like you'll be tough and strong, like a cowboy, if you smoke their brand."
Mick: "They show this clean, refreshing outdoor scene. They don't show the air filled with gross-smelling cigarette smoke."
Reality Check: One of the models who played the Marlboro Man died of lung cancer. The model who played the Winston Man is paralyzed on one side because of smoking -- he can no longer climb mountains like he did in those tough-guy ads. Cigarette ads are often set in clean, wholesome settings, and they never show smoke. They don't give you a clue about how gross a burning cigarette smells!
©1993 B&WT Co. Alison: "Look at how white her teeth are. They wouldn't really look that white if she smoked."
Daniel: "People who buy the cigarettes think if they can smoke and be pretty and thin and have fun, maybe I can too."
Reality Check: According to the SGR, "cigarette ads for women have always promoted slimness." But cigarettes are not healthy. Exercising and eating right are two of the smartest things you can do to stay fit and healthy.
©Lorillard 1991 Gabriella: "They're trying to show that if you smoke, you'll have a good time."
Daniel: "The models are always young, good-looking, and popular.
Reality Check: Cigarette ads have a hidden message: "Smoking helps you make friends and will make you desirable." But do you know anybody who desires someone with bad breath, smelly clothes, and yellow teeth? In one survey, 72 percent of high school seniors considered smoking a "dirty habit" -- and the same number said they'd rather date someone who doesn't smoke.
©1992R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. Daniel: "Camel cigarettes uses Joe Camel, a cartoon character, to catch kids. Kids like cartoons more than adults do."
Tana: "If the cigarette companies can get kids hooked on a brand, then they just might buy that brand their whole life."
Reality Check: The youth market is very important to the big tobacco companies, because young smokers are needed to replace older smokers who quit or die. Kids like humor, and kids like cartoons -- and Camel ads use both. According to the SGR, most kids pick Camel ads as their favorite ads for cigarettes.
A Tricky Way to Advertise
Cigarette ads have been banned from TV and radio since 1971. But, the tobacco companies do sponsor sporting events that are shown on TV. Then they plaster their names all over everything. During one 90-minute car race, the word "Marlboro" appeared on TV 5,933 times! How can they say that's not advertising?
©Philip Morris Inc.
Melanie Brown PHOTOEDIT Alison: "An athlete would never smoke, because it would affect her tennis playing."
Tana: "It's a way for them to advertise without advertising -- and they don't have to put the Surgeon General's warning on the signs."
Reality Check: Six years after Virginia Slims cigarettes for women were introduced, more than twice as many teenage girls were smoking. And tobacco companies say they don't target kids!
http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/sgr/sgr4kids/adbust.htm (see for actual ads)
Smoke-Free Coast To Coast
Kids everywhere are banding together to stamp out tobacco. Let's travel coast-to-coast and see what kids are doing.
Huntington Park, California
Angie Yocupicio broke the law -- lucky for her she was working with the police department when she did it! Angie was part of a "sting operation" to prove how easily kids can buy cigarettes. She walked into a store and boldly asked for a pack -- or a carton! Even though she was 15 at the time, "I was rarely turned down," she says. "They sold it to me gladly." The health agency that sponsored the sting hopes stores will get the message and obey the law. Today, all 50 states and Washington, D.C., prohibit stores from selling tobacco to kids under 18.
Santa Fe, New Mexico
It's amazing what kid power -- and a little peanut butter and jelly -- can accomplish! Last year, 350 students packed the New Mexico state capitol to talk to their lawmakers about passing a law that would make it illegal to sell tobacco to kids under 18. They even brought the lawmakers p.b.&j. sandwiches to lunch on! A month later, the law passed.
Marmath, North Dakota
What can just two kids do? Plenty, it turns out, when the two are Justin Fischer and Eric Sonsalla! The only students in their grade (the whole school has only 32 students), they wanted to make their school smoke-free. Eric, age 11, admits he was "pretty nervous" when they shared this idea with the school board. But the board agreed that smoking stinks -- and now nobody can smoke at Marmath Public School. "It was a really fun experience," Eric says.
Students at the Perry Elementary School think magazines read by kids should not print tobacco ads. So they picked some magazines -- including Sports Illustrated and Hot Rod -- from the school library and wrote letters to the editors, asking them to stop running these ads. When the editors didn't write back, the library canceled the subscriptions.
Perth Amboy, New Jersey
"Sometimes adults think kids don't
know what they're talking about," says George Vega, 17. But
George can tell grown-ups a thing or two about tobacco
advertising -- and he did! His group, HORA (Hispanics On the
Rise Again), took a survey of cigarette billboards in his
hometown. They found there were more signs in Hispanic
neighborhoods than anyplace else. "They put billboards by
churches and schools and in parks where kids play," he
complains. HORA is talking to the city council about dumping
the signs. "We want to remove tobacco billboards," says
George, "and replace them with ones for milk or vegetables
-- something healthy and positive for kids."
Sean Donahue, Boston, Massachusetts
"Read my lips -- don't smoke!" With TV and newspaper reporters looking on, Sean Donahue heard his voice ring out across the lawn of the Massachusetts statehouse. More than 100 kids -- waving banners and signs that read "FRESH AIR" and "SMOKING STINKS" -- let out a giant roar. "It was exciting," says Sean, remembering his first antismoking rally.
But Sean did more than just talk. After his rousing speech, he led a parade of wagons to the state capitol. The wagons were filled with petitions asking the Secretary of State to raise the state tobacco tax by 25 cents. (According to the Surgeon General, cigarette taxes save lives because high prices make many people stop smoking.)
The hard work gathering those petitions paid off: Massachusetts voters approved the law raising the tax.
Sean was asked to speak at the rally because he's a celebrity in Boston -- even though he's only 14! He appears weekly on a WBZ radio show called "Kid Company" and even landed a guest spot on "The Tonight Show."
All the attention isn't going to his head, though. He's still a down-to-earth guy who cares about kids. "I'm not just saying this to get publicity -- I'm concerned about what's going on," he says. "Kids have to lay off smoking, because it can really ruin their bodies and their lives." www.cdc.gov/tobacco/sgr/sgr4kids/coast.htm
To become part of the movement against tobacco! Here are 10 ways you can help to make your world smoke-free:
Like Justin and Eric in North Dakota, you can make your school smoke-free. Take a petition door-to-door for people to sign. Then take the petition to a school board meeting and present it to school officials. Here's what a petition should look like.
As we've seen, cigarette companies try to link tobacco with athletics. You can show that smoking and sports don't mix by writing a letter to the owners of your local sports teams, asking them to make the stadium free of tobacco ads. Many pro teams are already taking action---like the Baltimore Orioles, Colorado Rockies, Seattle Seahawks, Houston Rockets, and Minnesota Vikings. These teams don't allow any tobacco advertising in their stadiums.
Write a letter to your favorite restaurant, asking them to go completely smoke-free. (Having a separate nonsmoking section does not eliminate your exposure to secondhand smoke. Just like you can't put chlorine in half of a swimming pool, you can't keep smoke in half of a room.) Tell them that when the air in their restaurant is clean, their food will taste better---and that you'll come back and bring your friends!
Try this project: In Lincolnwood, Illinois, students took a survey of local businesses. Then they used the school newspaper to encourage kids to shop at stores that didn't sell cigarettes.
Promise you'll never, ever smoke. In Minnesota, kids called Body Guards get members of their families (and other people in the community) to sign a pledge saying they'll be tobacco-free. Of course the kids sign the pledge too!
Paint posters to encourage younger kids not to smoke. With your teacher's permission, plaster them all over your classroom, library, or cafeteria.
Kids who are too young to buy cigarettes from a store often turn to vending machines. It's illegal, but usually they get away with it. So talk to your town board or city council about banning vending machines in your area. Many towns are already doing it---and in places like Perth Amboy, New Jersey, it's kids who are leading the way.
Send a letter to your local newspaper---the more people that know about the dangers of smoking, the better. After his mom died of lung cancer, Wiley Seigler of New Mexico wrote the Albuquerque Journal. Surely everyone who read Wiley's sad letter thought twice before lighting up a cigarette.
If you will graduate from high school in the year 2000, you can ask your teacher if your class can join the Smokefree Class of 2000. It's a group of kids who have promised to stay smoke-free forever! For more information, write:
SFC 2000, 20 North Wacker Drive, Suite 1240, Chicago, IL 60606-2969. Or call 1-800-562-4447 If you already smoke, quit! Here are some people who can help you---or a friend---kick the habit. Call for more information---or ask how you can volunteer.
American Lung Association, 1-800-586-4872, (1-800-LUNG-USA)
American Heart Association, 1-800-242-8721, (1-800-AHA-USA1)
American Cancer Society, 1-800-227-2345, (1-800-ACS-2345)
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Office on Smoking and Health, 1-800-232-1311, (1-800-CDC-1311)
Educational Materials: www.cdc.gov/tobacco/edumat.htm
Health Professionals: New Guidelines Challenge All Clinicians to Help Smokers Quit - Agency for Health Care Policy and Research.
Parents, Educators, Youth Group Leaders, MediaSharp SM: Help your kids with today's 3 R's Reading, 'Riting & Real Life.
SLAM: SLAM is a fifteen-minute video developed to help young people be more aware of the power and pervasiveness of cigarette advertising and to help them explore ways to resist the influences of the tobacco industry. "Smoke Screeners" is an educational program that helps teach media literacy skills to young people. My Kids Direct involvement in your children's life is the single most important step you can take in helping them stay substance free.
Parents Help Keep Your Kids Tobacco-Free: Tip Sheet Parenting never was easy, and keeping up-to-date with how to relate to your youngsters today requires steady attention to rapidly changing youthful activities and interests. This tip sheet suggests ways to enhance your childrens decision-making skills about tobacco use without turning them off. This one-pager is an excellent resource for all sorts of groups including PTAs, scouts, neighborhoods, and any other parent groups.
A Smoke Free Message From Christy Turlington: Coaches You Can Influence Youth
This artistic one-pager makes the connection between how tobacco use affects physical performance and well-being, but it does so in an entertaining way. If you are a coach, you can have a big influence on youngsters decisions regarding their health.
MTV Talks Tobacco
The Office on Smoking and Health has developed a video and facilitator's guide to provoke thought and stimulate discussion about teen smoking. The two-part video features former cast members of MTV's Real World and professional volleyball player and model Gabrielle Reece.
Facts on Sports and Smokefree Youth Including Special Benefits for Girls Fact Sheet
Guidelines for School Health Programs to Prevent Tobacco Use and Addiction Outlines steps to help school personnel plan, implement, and assess programs and policies for preventing tobacco use. (PDF-227K) This document is available in Portable Document Format. You will need Acrobat Reader to view this document.
Additional Web Sites for Parents/Educators/Youth Group Leaders
What You(th) Should Know about Tobacco Tip Sheet
If you are in a youth group, or if you help with a youth group, this tip sheet is an easy resource to communicate the common sense of avoiding tobacco use.
Kick Butts Online---TIPS 4 Kids
Prevent the Addiction---TIPS 4 Teens
Pre Teen Boys
Past Month Smokeless Tobacco Use Among Boys, Grades 9-12
United States, 1993
Columbia Hawaii Utah New Jersey Delaware Northeastern
Region Illinois Massachusetts Georgia Western
Region Maine Southern
Region Nevada New York New Hampshire Average
U.S. South Carolina North Carolina Wisconsin Ohio New Mexico Mississippi Louisiana Midwestern
Region Oregon Arkansas Nebraska Idaho Wyoming Tennessee Montana South Dakota Kentucky West Virginia
District of Columbia
United States, 1992-1993
Rank State Prevalence
Connecticut New Jersey Rhode Island District of
Columbia Massachusetts New York Hawaii Maryland Delaware California Maine New Hampshire Illinois Florida Vermont Nevada Utah Michigan Ohio Wisconsin Overall Washington Minnesota Arizona Pennsylvania South Carolina Indiana New Mexico Colorado Virginia Nebraska Oregon Missouri North Dakota Iowa Alaska Texas Kansas Louisiana Georgia North Carolina Idaho Oklahoma South Dakota Kentucky Alabama Tennessee Arkansas Mississippi Montana Wyoming West Virginia
District of Columbia
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