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It’s a fact: Kids who use tobacco are more likely to use alcohol and other drugs such as cocaine and marijuana. Here are several Tips for talking to kids about tobacco and leading them in the right direction.
Counselors & Teachers
TOBACCO AND PHYSICAL ACTIVITY PERFORMANCE
Cigars, cigarillos, smokeless tobacco, or electronic smoking devices are NOT safe alternatives. Nicotine in cigarettes, cigars, and smokeless tobacco can result in the following:
- Narrowing of blood vessels and heart damage
- Reduced lung capacity and stamina
- Shortness of breath (almost three times more often than nonsmokers)
TOBACCO AND PERSONAL APPEARANCE
- Tobacco smoke gives hair and clothing a foul odor.
- Tobacco stains teeth and causes bad breath.
- The use of smokeless tobacco can cause cracked lips, mouth sores, tooth loss, and bleeding in the mouth.
- Surgical removal of oral cancers from tobacco use can cause serious facial scarring and distortion. Sean Marcee, a high school star athlete from Oklahoma, used smokeless tobacco and consequently died of oral cancer when he was 19 years old.
ELECTRONIC SMOKING DEVICES (ESDS)
- “E-juices” used in “Electronic Smoking Devices (ESDs),” which include “e-cigarettes,” “personal vaporizers,” “vapes,” or “hookah pens,” contain nicotine, and are extracted from tobacco leaves.
- Nicotine is highly addictive and can negatively impact your health, including brain development. Did you know that the brain does not fully develop until age 25?
- As of August 8, 2016, the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) regulates all ESDs and E-juices. However, merchants who sell ESDs and E-juices have two years to comply with the new FDA regulations. E-cigarettes can contain up to four times the amount of nicotine found in regular cigarettes. Higher concentrations can result in nicotine poisoning, causing nausea, vomiting, and even death. Ingredients often found in E-juices are regulated by the FDA for ingestion, not inhalation.
- Use of ESDs, along with cigarettes and other tobacco products, is illegal on all Arkansas public school property, including school buses and other off-campus sanctioned school events.
- Know the truth. Despite all the tobacco use on TV and in movies, video games, apps, and magazines, most teens, adults, and physically active individuals DO NOT use tobacco.
- Make friends, participate in physical activity, be independent, and in general, get involved in extracurricular activities. You don’t need tobacco or nicotine products to be cool or have a good time.
- Don’t waste money on tobacco or nicotine products. Spend it on video games (that don’t feature smoking), clothes, shoes, movies, or smartphones.
- Get involved: make your team, school, and home tobacco and nicotine free; learn about tobacco- and nicotine-free policies; inspire others to join efforts to prevent tobacco and nicotine use.
PARENTS — HELP KEEP YOUR KIDS TOBACCO AND NICOTINE FREE
Kids who are around tobacco and/or nicotine may:
- Cough and have asthma attacks more often.
- Develop respiratory problems, leading to more sick days and medical bills, and decreased physical activity.
- Be more likely to use alcohol and other drugs.
- Become addicted and find it extremely hard to quit.
- Believe that cigarillos, cigars, smokeless tobacco, and electronic smoking devices (ESDs) are safe alternatives to cigarettes. They are NOT.
- Be unaware that tobacco use is the single most preventable cause of death in the United States, causing heart disease, lung disease, cancers, and strokes.
TAKE A STAND AT HOME — EARLY AND OFTEN
- Despite the impact of movies, music, and TV, parents can be the GREATEST INFLUENCE in their child’s life.
- Talk directly to your child about the risks of tobacco and nicotine use; share how the death of a friend or relative who died from a tobacco-related illness has affected you.
- If you use tobacco/nicotine, you can still make a difference. Try to quit and lead by example. Meanwhile, do not
- use tobacco or ESDs in your child’s presence and do not leave these products unattended around your child. It is illegal to purchase these products for a minor.
- Start a dialogue about tobacco and nicotine use at age five or six and continue through your child’s life. Many kids start using tobacco or nicotine by age 11, and may become addicted by age 14.
- Try to determine if your child’s friends use tobacco or nicotine. Discuss ways to refuse tobacco and nicotine use.
- Address the false glamorization of tobacco and nicotine use in magazines, movies, TV, video games, and other media.
MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN YOUR COMMUNITY
- Annually, the tobacco industry spends $119 million in Arkansas to attract new customers. Help your community counter market Big Tobacco by developing tobacco- and nicotine-free or point-of-sale policies. For more information, contact Laura Taylor at TaylorLB@archildrens.org.
- Get involved: Join the Project Prevent Youth Coalition as an Advisor or recruit student members, or call your local cancer, heart, or lung association to learn how you can make a difference.