What Is Addiction? (Borrowed from www.teens.drugabuse.org) 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. (http://teens.drugabuse.gov/facts/facts_nicotine1.php#what_is_it)
Does Tobacco Lead to Death? 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. (www.abovetheinfluence.com)
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 (http://www.tobaccofreekids.org)
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.
Most Kentuckians do not smoke cigarettes yet Kentucky leads the nation in cigarette smoking. While only 28% of Kentucky adults smoke cigarettes, 74% of Kentuckians are regularly exposed to secondhand smoke in public places. At least one-third of Kentuckians are regularly exposed to secondhand smoke in the home. Twenty-one percent of U.S. adults are current smokers. (http://www.mc.uky.edu/
What is in Secondhand Smoke? Secondhand smoke contains over 4,000 chemical compounds and 40 known Group A carcinogens. Some of the substances in secondhand smoke:
- Acetaldehyde Lead
- Acrolein Mercury
- 4-Aminobiphenyl Methanol
- Ammonia Methyl chloride
- Analine Napthalene
- Arsenic 2-Naphthylamine
- Benzene Nickel
- Benzo[a]pyrene Nicotine
- Cadmium Nitric Oxide
- Carbon Monoxide Phenol
- Chromium VI Styrene
- DDT Tar
- Formaldehyde Toluene
- Hydrogen cyanide Vinyl Chloride
History of our Smoke-free Ordinance: In April 2004, Lexington-Fayette County implemented a smoke-free ordinance prohibiting smoking in all public buildings including restaurants, bars, bingo parlors, pool halls, public areas of hotels/motels, and all other buildings open to the public. Ours was the first community in Kentucky with a smoke-free law. Kentucky leads the nation in smoking, with 28.7% of adults who smoke cigarettes, compared to 20.9% in the U.S. Each year tobacco use kills 440,000 Americans, and nearly 53,000 nonsmokers in this country die from lung cancer and heart disease due to secondhand smoke exposure. In Kentucky, cigarette smoking claims nearly 8,000 lives and costs $1.17 billion in health care expenditures each year. In spite of the enormous economic burden caused by tobacco use, Kentucky spends only $2.7 million per year for tobacco prevention and cessation (10.8% of the CDC recommended spending) and ranks 39th nationally in spending on tobacco prevention. In contrast, the tobacco industry spends $346.4 milion each year marketing tobacco products in Kentucky. (Adult Smoking Rates and Lexington Smoke Free Law, Hahn, Rayens, Zhang, Dec. 2006)
Statement of the Youth Problem
- It is estimated that approximately 4.5 million adolescents in the United States are smokers
- Those who start smoking young are more likely to have a long-term addiction to nicotine than people who start smoking later in life. Smoking-related illnesses claim more American lives than alcohol, car accidents, suicide, AIDS, homicide and illegal drugs combined.
- People who smoke a pack a day die, on average, 7 years earlier than people who have never smoked.
- Smoking is the single most preventable cause of premature death in the United States (Source: http://quitsmoking.about.com/od/teensmoking/a/teensmokefacts.htm
- For local data on youth tobacco use, click on this link: 2010 KIP (Kentucky Incentives for Prevention) Survey Results – Fayette County
Accessibility to tobacco:
Knowing where teens get tobacco is important to prevention efforts. The good news: According to the KIP trend data 10th and 12th grade access has decreased from 2006 to 2010.
Teens report that parental disapproval has increased slightly, a positive trend.
What are we doing about the problem?
The Tobacco Committee of the Mayor’s Alliance and Fayette ASAP Board is a concerned group of individuals representing multiple agencies and groups within Fayette Co. This group comes together bi-monthly to review data, develop programs and sponsor events. The home page shows 30 sec. psa’s developed by high school youth to deliver a tobacco prevention message to their peers. The committee is committed to reviewing research around second-hand smoke as well as the ever-increasing new tobacco products that are coming to stores. While prevention is of utmost concern, providing resources for those teens that are already using is also a priority of the Tobacco Committee. To that course, funding is provided to Fayette Co. Health Department, sponsoring cessation classes around the community. Currently, the new law around tobacco packaging is one area the committee is working to become more familiar with.
What you can do to help
In your home:
Take a stand and talk with your teens
- Talk with your child, set limits; be a positive role model. Please review the flyer Parent Cessation Guide
- Who is the most powerful influence in your child’s life? You, that’s who, according to the Partnership at DrugFree.org For more information, see: http://www.drugfree.org/prevent
- Also see Parents, the Anti-Drug at http://www.theantidrug.com/advice/safeguarding-and-monitoring/conversation-tips/default.aspx
The UK Secondhand Smoke campaign website is www.takeitoutside.org
Tobacco Free Kids is www.tobaccofreekids.org
American Legacy Foundation
In the community:
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.
Is Tobacco Addictive?
Nicotine meets the criteria of a highly addictive drug. Nicotine is a potent psychoactive drug that induces euphoria, serves as a reinforcer of its use, and leads to nicotine withdrawal syndrome when it is absent. As an addictive drug, nicotine has 2 very potent issues: it is a stimulant and it is also a depressant. For example, one smoker talked too lovingly about her cigarettes that are called her “best friend”. They got her going in the morning, and they chilled her out during the day.
Here’s what to watch for:
- 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
Local, state and national tobacco treatment resources are available for users who would like to quit.
Lexington Fayette Urban County Health Department 859-288-2423
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? http://www.kcp.uky.edu/
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.
The bottom line: People who quit smoking can realize immediate health benefits. Believe it or not, within 24 hours of quitting, a person’s blood pressure decreases and they have less of a chance of having a heart attack. Over the long haul, quitting means reduced chance of stroke, lung and other cancers, coronary heart disease, and a greater chance for a long and healthy life.
Know the Laws:
Lexington-Fayette County Smoke-Free Ordinance
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.