Monday, October 12, 2009

Youth and Tobacco Use: Get the Facts

Knowledge is Power: The #1 deterrent of substance abuse in teens is PARENTS!
From GeorgetownCARES

Did you know?
- Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States.
- Cigarette smoking is a causal factor in about 1 of every 5 deaths, each year.2,3
- More than 450,000 people die of tobacco-related illnesses in the US every year, more than from AIDS, car crashes, alcohol, suicides, homicides, fire and illegal drugs combined.
- About 90% of all tobacco users start before age 18.
- In MA, in 2007, 17.7% of high school students smoked a cigarette in the last 30 days.
- 52% of daily smokers have used illicit drugs (CASA).
- Teens who smoke are four times as likely to develop depressive symptoms as their nonsmoking peers, nine times more likely to abuse alcohol, 13 times more likely to use marijuana than teens who don't smoke. (2007 CASA study) Panic attacks and anxiety-related disorders have been linked to teen smoking, also.

What’s in cigarette tobacco? There are over 63+ chemical pyrolytic carcinogens (such as benzopyrene, acrolein, nitrosamines, tar components) in tobacco smoke. Other chemicals in tobacco include: Arsenic, Cyanide, Formaldehyde (used to embalm bodies), Ammonia Bromide (a toilet cleaner). Smoking tobacco increases risk for heart attacks, strokes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema, and cancer (particularly lung cancer, cancers of the larynx and mouth, and pancreatic cancer). Damage to the protective epithelial tissues from smoking only increases the prolonged retention of insoluble polonium 210 compounds produced from burning tobacco in the lungs.

Addictive Nature: Tobacco contains nicotine, a stimulant and vaso-constrictor, the highly addictive element which easily induces psychological and physical dependence, particularly in young smokers. It increases heartbeat and blood pressure by its adrenaline release, produces mild euphoria, rush, stress relief, and decreases appetite. Another substance, harman (a stimulant alkaloid, an MAIO inhibitor), formed from the acetaldehyde in cigarette smoke, facilitates dopamine release in response to the nicotine, raising nicotine’s addictive power.

Short term effects: Shortness of breath, coughing, increase in phlegm production, decrease in immunity, yellow teeth. Causes bad breath, tartar build-up. Nicotine makes addiction to other substances more likely because is shown to create new addictive neural pathways in the brain.

Long term effects: Increases risk for heart disease, blood clots, cancer, strokes, bronchitis, emphysema, bad circulation, ulcers. Causes older looking, wrinkled skin.

Cigars - Most of the same cancer-causing chemicals that are found in cigarettes are present in cigars too. Deaths from all types of cancer are 34 percent higher than among nonsmokers.

Smokeless Tobacco/Chewing or Snuff – A growing concern…
- From 2005 to 2007, the MA YRBS found that the percentage of students who used chewing
tobacco, snuff or dip in the last 30 days rose from 4.4% to 6.7%.
- The CDC breaks it down: 20% of HS boys and 2% of HS girls. 1/3 of users are under 21.
- Many people mistakenly believe that smokeless tobacco (snuff & chew) is safer than smoking.
But it causes several cancers (all difficult to treat), including oral, stomach, bladder & other gastrointestinal cancers. It also causes heart problems, stroke, and receding gums, in addition to nicotine addiction. Users develop yellow-brown teeth, cracked/bleeding lips/gums, mouth sores.
- Companies are now developing tobacco lozenges like Ariva and Stonewall, as well as snus, flavored chewing tobacco that you don’t have to spit out, targeted at….who else? Our kids.


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