Tips for Parents
No "Butts" About It: Educating Students About Smoking
Smoking is bad for you. We all know this. But does your student know the real truth about smoking?
According to the American Cancer Society, approximately 443,600 people die each year in the U.S. from illnesses related to cigarette smoking. In fact, more Americans die from cigarettes than alcohol, car accidents, suicide, AIDS, homicide and illegal drugs combined! Here are some other statistics to share:
- Almost 90% of adult smokers first smoked at or before age 19.
- Research finds that smoking even as few as one to four cigarettes a day can lead to serious health outcomes like increased risk of heart disease and a greater chance of dying at a younger age.
- It's estimated that more than 43 million U.S. adults currently smoke cigarettes—22% of men and 17% of women.
- Close to 50,000 non-smoking people die each year in the U.S. from secondhand smoke.
- Tobacco use accounts for at least 30% of all cancer deaths in the U.S., including 87% of lung cancer deaths.
- Flavored tobacco has become popular lately, in the form of clove cigarettes (kreteks), bidis and hookahs, yet these substances hold many of the same risks as cigarettes and other tobacco products.
- Hand-rolled cigarettes are not safer than those sold in stores — they actually have been found to increase the risk of cancers of the voice box, esophagus, mouth and throat.
- Nicotine is an addictive drug, just like cocaine or heroin.
- Smoking is a major cause of heart disease, aneurysms, bronchitis, emphysema and stroke.
- Smoking contributes to the severity of pneumonia and asthma symptoms.
- Tobacco is associated with reduced fertility and a higher risk of miscarriage among women, as well as premature births, stillbirths, infant death and low birth weight in infants.
- Smoking has been linked to a variety of other health problems including gum disease, bone fractures, ulcers and cataracts.
- The Centers for Disease Control estimate that adult male smokers lose an average of 13.2 years of life.
- Smoking harms nearly every organ of the body.
- Smoking low-tar cigarettes is not any better for you than smoking regular cigarettes.
- Smoking early in life will affect you later in life.
It's time for students to start taking care of themselves! If you have a student who smokes or who wants to help a friend, encourage them to participate in the Great American Smokeout happening this month. If they don't want to quit the habit, talk with them about putting preventive health care practices in place, including regular screenings and measures such as oral exams and paying attention to repeated respiratory conditions.
The good news is that people who stop smoking at younger ages experience the greatest health benefits from quitting. They can reduce the risk of getting lung cancer and other smoking-related illnesses.
The Benefits of Quitting
The American Cancer Society's Great American Smokeout occurs on Nov. 19, encouraging smokers to quit and supporting them in their efforts. Kicking the habit results in benefits beyond improved health, such as:
• Food will taste better.
• Your sense of smell returns to normal.
• Your breath, hair and clothes smell better.
• Your teeth and fingernails stop yellowing.
• Ordinary activities leave you less out of breath (climbing stairs).
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