Youth and smoking: Let’s keep our kids tobacco-free
March 28, 2012
This column appears on Wednesdays in the Nevada Appeal health pages. It addresses topics related to the health of our community.
This month, Surgeon General Regina Benjamin released “Preventing Tobacco Use Among Youth and Young Adults: A Report of the Surgeon General.” Some of the information in the report is encouraging: The rate of young smokers continues to decline, but other parts are a troubling reminder that we can and should do more to prevent youths from starting tobacco use.
• Every day, more than 1,200 people in this country die due to smoking. For each of those deaths, at least two youths or young adults become regular smokers each day. Almost 90 percent of those “replacement smokers” smoke their first cigarette by age 18.
• Rates of smokeless tobacco use are no longer declining and appear to be increasing among some groups.
• Cigars, especially cigarette-sized cigars, are popular with youths. One out of five male high school students smokes cigars, and cigar use appears to be increasing among other groups.
• Use of multiple tobacco products, including cigarettes, cigars and smokeless tobacco, is common among young people.
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• Prevention efforts must focus on young adults ages 18 through 25. Almost no one starts smoking after age 25. Nearly nine out of 10 smokers started smoking by age 18, and 99 percent started by age 26.
Carson City Health and Human Services’ Tobacco Prevention Specialist Cindy Hannah offers a free, voluntary program for kids who smoke but are interested in quitting called NOT: Not on Tobacco. Another program for youth, run by Partnership Carson City, is Teens Against Tobacco Use (T.A.T.U.). This program lets students ages 13-18 become involved in their community by educating their peers and local decision-makers on the reality of tobacco while making healthy choices in their life. T.A.T.U. Advocates is a fun, creative, and interactive program. To become involved in either program, or if you are an adult who is interested in quitting tobacco, contact Cindy at 775-887-2190.
Carson City Health and Human Services
900 E. Long St., Carson City
Hours: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Wednesday and Friday; call for appointment.
Well-child visits are from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays.
Men’s clinic is from 4 to 6 p.m. Mondays.
Immunization Day: 8:30 to 11:30 a.m.; 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Thursdays.
Douglas County Community Health
1538 Highway 395 North (Corner of Spruce Street and Cemetery Lane), Call 775-782-9038 for more information.