Over the years tobacco companies have created many definitions for smoking: chic, tough, sophisticated, glamorous. The true definition is this: cigarette smoking draws smoke, fire, and toxic substances into your lungs for the purpose of giving the body a dose of nicotine, a highly toxic and addictive drug.
Smoking is also dirty and stinky, looks stupid and reduces your life expectancy. Knowing all this, why then do 3,000 more young people ages 13 to 17 take up smoking every day? The cigarette companies are winning. And our young people are the losers.
Eighty percent of adult smokers began smoking when they were teens; 90 percent smoked before they were 21. Ninety-five percent of teens think they'll quit by age 25, but 75 percent of smokers who began in high school are still smoking seven to nine years later.
The dangers of tobacco have been all over the television and in all of the newspapers, yet every day more and more young people pick up a cigarette and start the habit.
Cigarette advertising may be one of the main reasons young people start smoking. Another major factor contributing to the increase in the number of young smokers is the lax enforcement of laws prohibiting the sale of cigarettes to minors.
According to a recent press release from the Center for the Advancement of Health, a state-by-state analysis indicates that state tobacco policies may result in lower teen smoking rates. Researchers from the Saint Louis University School of Public Health found that states with more extensive tobacco-control policies, such as New York, Connecticut, California and Rhode Island, had significantly lower youth smoking rates than did states with fewer such policies, such as South Dakota, Wisconsin and Kentucky.
State legislation that helped reduce teen smoking rates included the enforcement of smoking age restrictions, photo ID requirements for cigarette purchases, and incrementally severe penalties for stores caught selling cigarettes to minors.
The study is published in the October 2000 issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
Because peers are such a powerful influence over young people, it is critical that SADD chapters attack the issue of tobacco use by their peers and younger students.
WHAT CAN CHAPTERS DO?
American Cancer Society 1-800-ACS-2345
American Lung Association 1-800-586-4872
Gearing Up to Stop Smoking 1-800-428-6100
Nicotine-Free Teens www.nicotinefreekids.org
Stop Teen Addiction to Tobacco www.stat.org
(If you would like free QuitNet fliers to distribute, please call 617-437-1500 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids www.tobacco-freekids.org
The American Legacy Foundation www.thetruth.com
Facts about Kids and Smoking
From the Surgeon General's Report for Kids about Smoking
WHAT'S IN A CIGARETTE?
People really smoke these?
Here's why tobacco products are killers. They are a combination of deadly ingredients. Do you and your friends really want to put carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, acetone and ammonia in your lungs?
Cigars and chewing tobacco are NOT safe alternatives to cigarettes. Both pose dangerous health risks and are also addictive and deadly.
|Brain: Uses -- Thinking & Learning & Dreaming Smoking causes migraine headaches and strokes.||Face: Uses -- Smiling & Frowning & Clowning Smoking speeds up the aging process of skin and is associated with the development of facial wrinkles at a younger age, especially in females.|
|Mouth: Uses -- Tasting & Kissing & Singing Smoking gives you bad breath, and smokers have triple the cavities and tooth loss of nonsmokers. Cigarettes and chewing tobacco also stain your teeth and cause oral cancer.||Lungs: Uses -- Breathing & Panting & Howling Smoking dumps tar and other toxic chemicals that kill lung tissue and cause bronchitis, emphysema, and cancer directly into the lungs.|
IF YOU DON'T SMOKE - DON'T START. IF YOU DO - STOP!
|Sibley County Improv Students from the GFW High School visited the 7th graders at the middle school on Kick Butt's Day Wednesday, April 3. The high school students performed several scenes related to tobacco use among teens and adults and then had conversations with the 7th graders about tobacco use prevention. Kick Butt's Day was celebrated nationwide by many schools and the middle school SADD students joined in the effort by sponsoring activities during lunch. Students were asked to sign a "No Tobacco Use" pledge card and were given stickers and pencils in thanks for their support.|