(Borrowed from teens.drugabuse.gov)
When people are addicted, they have a compulsive need to seek out and use a substance, even when they understand the harm it can cause. Tobacco products—cigarettes, cigars or pipes, and smokeless tobacco—all can lead to addiction. Everyone knows that smoking is bad for you, and most people that do it want to quit. In fact, nearly 35 million people make a serious attempt to quit each year. Unfortunately, most who try to quit on their own relapse—often within a week.
Is Nicotine Addictive?
Yes. It is actually the nicotine in tobacco that is addictive. Each cigarette contains about 10 milligrams of nicotine. Because the smoker inhales only some of the smoke from a cigarette, and not all of each puff is absorbed in the lungs, a smoker gets about 1 to 2 milligrams of the drug from each cigarette. Although that may not seem like much, it is enough to make someone addicted.
Is Nicotine the Only Harmful Part of Tobacco?
No. Nicotine is only one of more than 4,000 chemicals, many of which are poisonous, found in the smoke from tobacco products. Smokeless tobacco products also contain many toxins, as well as high levels of nicotine. Many of these other ingredients are things we would never consider putting in our bodies, like tar, carbon monoxide, acetaldehyde, and nitrosamines. Tar causes lung cancer, emphysema, and bronchial diseases. Carbon monoxide causes heart problems, which is one reason why smokers are at high risk for heart disease.
How Is Tobacco Used?
Tobacco can be smoked in cigarettes, cigars, or pipes. It can be chewed or, if powdered, sniffed. “Bidis” are an alternative cigarette. They come originally from India and are hand-rolled. In the U.S., bidis are popular with teens because they come in colorful packages with flavor choices. Some teens think that bidis are less harmful than regular cigarettes, but in fact they have more nicotine, which may make people smoke more, giving bidis the potential to be even more harmful than cigarettes. Hookah—or water pipe smoking—practiced for centuries in other countries, has recently become popular among teens as well. Hookah tobacco comes in many flavors, and the pipe is typically passed around in groups. Although many hookah smokers think it is less harmful than smoking cigarettes, water pipe smoking still delivers the addictive drug nicotine and is at least as toxic as cigarette smoking.
Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of disease, disability, and death in the United States. Between 1964 and 2004, cigarette smoking caused an estimated 12 million deaths, including 4.1 million deaths from cancer, and 5.5 million deaths from cardiovascular diseases.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention estimates that smoking caused health costs total $10.47 per pack sold and consumed in the U.S. Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, June 28, 2011.
About one-third of all people who try nicotine even once become addicted to it. When nicotine is absorbed in the lungs or through the mucous membranes of the mouth it is quickly moved through the blood stream, where it is circulated throughout the brain. In fact, nicotine reaches the brain within 8 seconds after someone inhales tobacco smoke.
- Bad breath, smelly hair and clothes, stained or yellow teeth, elevated heart rate, chronic cough, decreased lung capacity, increased risk of other drug addiction, addiction.
Long Term Effects
- Premature wrinkled skin, permanent gum and tooth loss, chronic bronchitis, weakened immune system, stomach ulcers, abnormal sperm cells and impotence, high blood pressure, heart attacks, blocked blood vessels and strokes, cancer of the upper lung, throat and mouth, cancer of the bladder, kidney, pancreas, and cervix; emphysema, chronic obstructive lung disease
Statement of the Youth Problem:
- Each day 3,000 children smoke their first cigarette.
- Tobacco use primarily begins in early adolescence, typically by age 16.
- Almost all first use occurs before high school graduation.
- 20 percent of American teens smoke.
- Roughly 6 million US teens smoke today despite the knowledge that it is addictive and leads to disease.
- Of every 100,000 15 year old smokers, tobacco will prematurely kill at least 20,000 before age 70.
- Of the 3,000 teens who started smoking today, nearly 1,000 will eventually die as a result of smoking.
- Adolescent girls who smoke and take oral birth control pills greatly increase their chances of having blood clots and strokes.
According to the Surgeon General, teenagers who smoke:
- Are three times more likely to use alcohol.
- Are eight times are likely to smoke marijuana.
- Are 22 times more likely to use Cocaine.
- Although only 5 percent of high school smokers said that they would definitely be smoking five years later, close to 75 percent were still smoking 7 to 9 years later.
- A person who starts smoking at age 13 will have a more difficult time quitting, has more health-related problems and probably will die earlier than a person who begins to smoke at age 21.
- Kids who smoke experience changes in the lungs and reduced lung growth, and they risk not achieving normal lung function as an adult.
- Kids who smoke have significant health problems, including cough and phlegm production, decreased physical fitness and unfavorable lipid profile.
- If your child’s best friends smoke, then your youngster is 13 times more likely to smoke than if his or her friends did not smoke.
- More than 90 percent of adult smokers started when they were teens.
- Adolescents who have two parents who smoke are more than twice as likely as youth without smoking parents to become smokers. (Source: http://www.smoking-facts.net/Teen-Smoking-Facts.html)
- For local data on youth tobacco use, click here: 2010 KIP (Kentucky Incentives for Prevention) Survey Results – Fayette County
What Are We Doing About the Problem?
Data and programming: We work closely with schools on data collection and the development of effective prevention and intervention programs. The coalition administers the Kentucky Incentives for Prevention (KIP) Survey to 6th, 8th, 10th, and 12th grade students throughout Fayette County every other year to track behaviors and attitudes. The coalition also designed a longitudinal study to track parent attitudes as their teens progress through high school. Using the collected data, targeted efforts are designed to help schools and replicate effective programs.
Resources: The coalition makes outside resources available to assist teachers:
- UK College of Nursing Students – Nursing students will work with schools on tobacco prevention, intervention and cessation programs. These are offered on a semester basis. Contact Kacy Allen Bryant at email@example.com for details.
- Fayette County Health Department –The health department offers several in-school programs, including TATU (Teens Against Tobacco Use) which involves high-school students going into middle and elementary classrooms; NOT (Not On Tobacco), and other nutrition and wellness presentations which can be tailored to meet the individual classroom needs. Contact Allison Evans at firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
- Bluegrass Prevention Center – The alcohol, tobacco and other drug prevention program of Bluegrass Regional MHMR Board, Inc. has trained professionals who can provide resources and information that is appropriate for youth and parent presentations. Please call 859-225-3296.
What You Can Do to Help
Support coalition efforts to collect data, including through the Kentucky Incentives for Prevention (KIP) Survey which is administered to 6th, 8th, 10th and 12th graders every other year.
Help enforce school rules – including the no smoking policy. Students who smoke are more likely to go on to drink and use drugs. The no smoking policy is only as good as its enforcement and that takes the support of all teachers and administrators.
Connect with parents and help educate them. One of the biggest challenges is getting parent involvement. You are in a position to gain parent buy-in and engage them in this important issue.
Serve as a Campus Champion: Teachers, as well as parents and other volunteers are welcome to participate. The Campus Champion serves as a liaison between our coalition and a specific middle or high school to facilitate effective communication and advocate for interventions which will serve all youth. It’s a limited time commitment with huge dividends to our young people!
Contact us to see how you can become involved in our coalition activities.
Keep track of our local efforts through the coalition calendar on our homepage.
The site above has print outs on lessons that teachers can use.
- Brain Power! The NIDA Junior Scientist Program (For grades K-1)
- Brain Power! The NIDA Junior Scientist Program (For grades 2-3)
- Brain Power! The NIDA Junior Scientist Program (For grades 4-5)
Middle & High School
- Brain Power! The NIDA Junior Scientist Program (For grades 6-9)
- NIDA for Teens Web Site
The Science Behind Drug Abuse (For grades 5-9)
- Mind Over Matter
The Effects of Drug Abuse on Your Body & Brain (For grades 5-9), Teacher’s Guide
- Also available in Spanish (En Español)
- HEADS UP: Real News About Drugs and Your Body (Scholastic Web Site)
A Scholastic and NIDA cooperative education project (For grades 6-10)
- Trends in Drug Use, High School and Youth
- Teaching Packets
The Neurobiology of Ecstasy, Understanding Drug Abuse and Addiction, more…
- The Brain: Understanding Neurobiology Through the Study of Addiction
NIH Curriculum Supplement Series (For grades 9-12)
- Science Education Grant and Contract Information
Grant and contract programs funding the development and evaluation of programs and materials on neuroscience and the biology of drug abuse and addiction among K-12 students, and other groups.
- NIDA Goes Back to School
Free science-based educational materials developed by NIDA, online ordering available.
- NIH Science Education Homepage
Curricula developed by NIH for elementary, middle, and high school classes
Local, state and national tobacco treatment resources are included for users who would like to quit.
Kentucky’s Tobacco QuitLine
One-on-one counseling in English or Spanish
9 a.m. – 9 p.m., M – F
Toll free 1-800-Quit Now (1-800-784-8669)
Kentucky Clinic Pharmacy
Counseling, nicotine replacement therapies,
(click “Ask a Pharmacist”)
Fayette County Health Department
Adult and Youth Tobacco Cessation Programs
(click “Community” then “The Tobacco Use Cessation and Prevention Program”)
Kentucky Cancer Program
Cooper/Clayton Method to Stop Smoking
Available in 120 Kentucky counties
Toll free 1-866-495-9888
Did you know that tobacco smoke is dangerous for nonsmokers, too? Go to Secondhand smoke: What you should know to learn more.
National Cancer Institute’s Quitline
Tobacco counseling in English and Spanish
Toll free 1-877-44U-QUIT
Smoking cessation references
Free Information from UK Healthcare
UK HealthCare also offers the following informative brochures from the American Cancer Society and the National Institutes of Health that explain the health effects of using tobacco and ways to quit:
- Why Do You Smoke?
- The Smoke Around You: Secondhand Smoke in the Workplace, Public Places, and Home
- Living Smoke-free for You and Your Baby
- Cold Hard Facts About Dip
- Questions About Smoking, Tobacco, and Health…And the Answers
- Deciding How to Quit: A Smoker’s Guide
- Spit Tobacco: A Guide for Quitting
To request a free copy of any of these publications, call UK Health Connection at 859-257-1000 or toll-free 1-800-333-8874.
KRS438.313 Distribution of tobacco products to persons under age 18 prohibited
This Kentucky law carries fines to any person who distributes cigarettes or tobacco products including samples to anyone under the age of 18.
KRS438.311 Unlawful acts by minors to purchase or receive tobacco products
Under this Kentucky law, it is illegal for a person under the age of 18 to purchase or accept receipt of tobacco products and includes fines and community service.
Fayette Co. Public Schools Code of Conduct includes consequences for tobacco use at school. Please refer to the policy for specifics that you and your child need to know.