Our community, the families in our community, and the children in our communities are all affected by the amount of tobacco use throughout the community. Smoking has been around since the 1500’s and has only worsened since.
In the Yuba County community everywhere you turn you see people smoking tobacco, chewing tobacco, or using tobacco of some sort.
Contrary to popular belief, even if you think your tobacco use only affects you, it really affects everyone around you.
First hand smoke, or the smoke on the one who does the smoking, has a multitude of negative effects. It may lead to lung cancer, heart disease, and many other life altering conditions.
Second hand smoke, or smoke intake from the smoke produced, but not by the person smoking, also has a multitude of negative effects.
Many believe the effects are not as drastic as smoking yourself. However the effects are just as bad, if not worse.
Most people who receive smoke second hand are unaware of what they are really breathing in.
Acording to the Centers for Disease Control “It is made out of thousands of chemicals, they are poisonous. It includes Hydrogen cyanide – used in chemical weapons, Cadmium – used in batteries, Toluene – found in paint thinners, Ammonia – used in household cleaners, Butane – used in lighter fluid, Benzene – found in gasoline.”
Third hand smoke, or the smoke left in fabrics, hair, etc., that people can breathe in is also a risk. This is a big risk for babies as people who smoke still have the scent of smoke on them and hold them.
Smoking begins at such a young age now that it has become more common.
American Cancer Society has doccumented the tobacco use from childrhhod up through highschool.
Most children who smoke begin at age eleven, and are addicted by age fourteen.
Children who smoke will begin to notice many health problems such as coughing spells, shortness of breath and frequent headaches.
They will be prone to respiratory illnesses, worsened cold/flu symptoms, and poor lung growth. They will see an increased amount of phlegm and a reduction in physical fitness, not to mention an addiction to nicotine.
If the use of tobacco continues they may experience gum disease and tooth loss, hearing loss, and vision loss. They will also be more likely to obtain chronic lung disease and blood vessel disease.
By the time children reach middle school 7% of children admit to using tobacco of some sort. Various forms are reported to being used such as cigarettes 3%, cigars 3.7%, pipes 2%, hookahs 1.1%, e-cigs 1.1% and .4% kreteks and bidis. Boys and girls are equal with a 6.5% of tobacco use.
By the time teens reach high school 23% admit to using tobacco of some sort. This includes 18% girls and 27% boys. 12% have smoked cigars, 15% boys and 8% girls. 12% use smokeless tobacco, 10% boys and 2% girls. 50% who still smoke have tried to quit in the past and failed.
Centers for Disease Control and Healthline provide informationa bout the effects of tobacco use.
Tobacco smoking is the dominating preventable death in the United States. Cigarette smoking causes more than 480,000 deaths a year in the U.S. This is about one in every five deaths.
Smoking causes more deaths each year than all of these combined; Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), illegal drug use, alcohol use, motor vehicle injuries, and firearm incidents.
More than 10 times as many U.S. citizens have died prematurely from cigarette smoking than have died in all wars fought by the United States during its history.
Smoking causes about 90% of all lung cancer deaths in men and women.
More women die from lung cancer each year than from breast cancer. About 80% of all deaths from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are caused by smoking.
The only way to lessen the effects of tobacco is quit. If you smoke, the best thing you could do for yourself is to quit.
Quitting may be hard, but take a minute to think, if you quit today, it will take you fifteen years for your body to act as if you were a non-smoker. If your body ever gets there.
If you quit now you have a better chance at recovery, Do not put it off.
There are resources everywhere as well as hotlines that offer information and assistance in quitting smoking. We can be the ones who end the smoking epidemic. It’s our choice to quit.
Note: This article was featured, in the winter 2015 print edition of The Prospector