The Tobacco Truths
Talk with your kids about tobacco

Smoking Gun
Smokers Suck
Smoking Celebs
Celebs Who Say No
Celebs Regret Habit; Hope For The Quitters
The Marlboro Man may be Impotent
Most Smokers Can't Collect Social Security
E-cigarettes, Teenagers and Oral Health
Asthmatic children see doctor less when parents smoke
Major Conclusions of the Surgeon General’s Report
Trends in tobacco use vary
Choosing Health
Non Smoking Celebrities
Powerful influences undermine public health efforts
Helping people enjoy smoke-free lives
Secondhand Smoke
Dangers of Fireplace Smoke
Great American Smoke-Out

Smokeless Tobacco/snuff/dip

Past Month Smokeless Tobacco Use Among Boys, Grades 9-12
Smokeless Tobacco Use Among Men Aged 18 years and Older
Cold Hard Facts about Dip
So what is snuff?
Snuff Maker Reportedly Settles Case
Will the nicotine patch help me quit smokeless tobacco? - DrDrew
Smokers Suck

Merchandise - Single card - $1.00 includes shipping, Positive Parenting Pack (all 34 cards) - $13.00 plus shipping

The Tobacco Truths

  • Tobacco takes the lives of approximately 6 million people worldwide, every year.
  • 400,000 of those tobacco related deaths happen in the United States alone.
  • Of those 400,000 tobacco related deaths, 41,000 of them are non-smokers with heavy, long-term exposure to secondhand smoke.
  • Smoking is a habit that ends up killing half of its users, yet over 10% of the US population (33 million people) report smoking every single day.
  • Tobacco related illnesses rack up $133 BILLION in direct healthcare costs every year.


Talk with your kids about tobacco

The warning labels on cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco and other tobacco products haven’t gotten the point across, Tobacco is bad for your body and bad for your oral health.

The Surgeon Generals Report contains six major conclusions about kids and smoking:

  • Most people start using tobacco before they finish high school. This means that if you stay smoke-free in school, you will probably never smoke.
  •  Most teens who smoke are addicted to nicotine. They want to quit smoking, but they can't . When they try to quit, they experience nasty withdrawal symptoms -- just like adults do.
  •  Tobacco is often the first drug used by kids who use alcohol and illegal drugs like marijuana.
  •  Kids who start smoking are more likely to get lower grades in school. They tend to hang out with other kids who smoke. They may have a low self-image, and they don't know how to say no to tobacco.
  • Cigarette advertisements are designed to make people think that smoking is cool and that everybody does it. These misleading ads appear to increase kids' risk of smoking.


More teenagers have tried Electronic Cigarettes than adults, with statistics showing as many as 10% of high school students having tried the latest trend in smoking compared with only 2.7% of adults.

Many teenagers are smoking E-cigarettes because they feel they are safe or cool. Regardless of how it’s delivered, however, nicotine is still a highly addictive drug that should be avoided by everyone, especially growing teens.

Spit Tobacco Facts

Spit tobacco (a.k.a. smokeless tobacco, dip, snuff, chew, and chewing tobacco) contains ingredients that can cause serious health problems. The amount of nicotine in one dip, or chew, of spit tobacco can deliver up to 5 times the amount found in one cigarette.

The amount of nicotine in one dip, or chew, of spit tobacco can deliver up to 5 times the amount found in one cigarette. For example, a thirty-minute chew gives you the same amount of nicotine as three cigarettes and a two can/week snuff dipper delivers the same nicotine as a 1 1/2 pack-a-day cigarette habit.

Spit tobacco users are 50 times more likely than nonusers to contract cancers of the cheek, gums, and inner surface of the lips.

Exposure to tobacco juice can induce cancers of the esophagus, larynx, stomach, pancreas, and prostate

Here's some good news!

People working in their communities, kids who warn each other about the dangers of smoking, for example, and programs that make it harder for stores to sell tobacco to kids, are helping to keep kids away from tobacco.

For more information, call toll free any time 1.800.ACS.2345 or visit

"Watch your mouth!"


  • In the 1970s and 1980s, smoking rates declined substantially among African American youths, regardless of gender, self-reported school performance, parental education, and personal income, but have increased markedly since 1992.
  • If current patterns continue, an estimated 1.6 million African Americans who are now under the age of 18 will become regular smokers. About 500,000 of those smokers will die of a smoking-related disease.
  • Studies show that adverse infant health outcomes (e.g., the likelihood of pregnant women delivering low birth weight babies, SIDS, and high infant mortality) are especially high for African Americans and American Indians and Alaska Natives. Cigarette smoking also increases these risks, especially for SIDS, among Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and among Hispanics.
  • In all four racial/ethnic minority groups, the percentage of persons who have ever smoked and have quit increases with increasing age.
  • In all racial/ethnic minority groups except African Americans, men are more likely than women to use smokeless tobacco.
  • Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are the least likely of the four U.S. racial/ethnic minority groups to smoke, but several local surveys report very high smoking rates among recent male immigrants from Southeast Asia.
  • Most African American, Asian American and Pacific Islander, and Hispanic smokers smoke fewer than 15 cigarettes a day. Heavy smoking—25 or more cigarettes a day—is most common among American Indians and Alaska Natives, but still lower than among whites who smoke.

The Marlboro Man may be Impotent

According to Denver urologist Lawrence Karsh, M.D., smoking is one of the worst things a young man can do to his body. We already know about smoking's link to lung cancer and heart disease. But smoking, over many years' time, can also damage and block the blood vessels inside the penis, resulting in a failure to sustain a normal erection. In most cases, the damage won't be seen until it's too late - - sometimes not for 20 - 30 years or longer. For additional information on impotence, including treatments . And, Resources.

Most Smokers Can't Collect Social Security

The most preventable cause of death in the United States is smoking.

  • Smokers lose an average of 15 years of life? The average male smoker will die before reaching 62, the early retirement age to be eligible to collect social security. It leaves a lot less time to enjoy life and your grand children.
  • The mortality rate of smokers who have two or more packs of cigarettes daily is 12 to 25 times greater than nonsmokers.
  • Smoking causes approximately 30 percent of all cancer deaths, and cigarette smoking is associated with 87 percent of lung cancers.
  • Smoking also contributes to cancers of the mouth, throat, esophagus, pancreas, uterus, cervix, kidney and bladder.
  • Smokeless tobacco (chewing tobacco and snuff) is not only addictive, but increases the risk of cancer of the mouth, throat and esophagus.
  • And, secondhand smoke kills loved ones.

If you think "Smoking makes a man," it's more apt to make a dead man.

If you smoke, now is the right time to quit.

Secondhand Smoke

Are you a nonsmoker who is shy about defending yourself against inconsiderate smokers?  Or are you a smoker who doesn't realize the distress you inflict on nonsmokers?  Here is some information about the effects of tobacco smoke on nonsmokers.

Facts about Nonsmokers

More than 30 million Americans have kicked the cigarette habit. Millions more are trying. Among adults, only one in three still smokes. In the population as a whole, it's one in four. Nonsmokers are a clear majority They are also no longer a silent majority. They mind if you smoke. And they're speaking up. They see tobacco smoke as a pollutant that defiles their air. And an increasing body of research gives them ammunition to defend themselves. It shows that secondhand smoke can have harmful effects on nonsmokers.

Open Burning

Tobacco smoke is a very complex mixture. There are thousands of chemical compounds in burning tobacco. Some of the most hazardous compounds are tar, nicotine, carbon monoxide, cadmium, nitrogen dioxide, ammonia, benzene, formaldehyde and hydrogen sulfide. And dozens of others. Any one alone can assault the body and case trouble. Together, they make smoking the menace it is. Even when a smoker inhales, researchers have calculated that two-thirds of the smoke from the burning cigarette goes into the environment. The percentage of pollution from cigar and pipe smoke is even higher. Cigarette smoke makes a significant, measurable contribution to the level of indoor air pollution.

Sidestream Smoke

Every time anyone lights a cigarette or cigar or pipe, tobacco smoke enters the atmosphere from two sources. Most important for nonsmokers, there is sidestream smoke, which goes directly into the air from the burning end. Then, there is mainstream smoke, which the smoker pulls through the mouthpiece when they inhale or puff. Nonsmokers are also exposed to mainstream smoke after the smoker exhales. A cigarette smoker inhales - and exhales - mainstream smoke eight or nine time with each cigarette for a total of about 24 seconds. But the cigarette burns for 12 minutes and pollutes the air continuously with sidestream smoke. Smokers can keep cigars and pipes burning for a much longer time. The pollution lingers long after. Sidestream smoke - the smoke from the burning end - had higher concentrations of noxious compounds than the mainstream smoke inhaled by the smoker. Some studies show there is twice as much tar and nicotine in sidestream smoke compared to mainstream. And three times as much of a compound called benzo(a)pyrene, which is suspected as a cancer-causing agent. Almost three times as much carbon monoxide, which robs the blood of oxygen. And 73 times as much ammonia. Before the nonsmoker inhales secondhand smoke, however, some of the high concentrations of hazardous substances are diluted in the ambient air. The smoker, on the other hand, inhales both firsthand and secondhand smoke. Nearly 85 percent of the smoke in a room results from sidestream smoke.

Assaults in the Air

Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas created by incomplete combustion. Car exhaust puts it in the air. So does tobacco smoke. When you inhale carbon monoxide, the gas bumps oxygen molecules out of your red blood cells and forms a new compound called carboxyhemoglobin. As the amount of this compound increases in your blood, the body becomes starved for oxygen. The Federal Air Quality Standards for the outside air limit carbon monoxide concerntrations to an average of 9 ppm. Several studies show that in rooms where smokers are present, levels of carbon monoxide can rise about those permitted for the outside air. When nonsmokers leave a smoky environment, it takes hours for the carbon monoxide to leave the body. After three or hour hours, carbon monoxide is still in the bloodstream. Elevated levels of other harmful agents - nitrogen dioxide, nicotine and respirable particulates, aldehydes, and nitrosamines - have been measured in smoky rooms. Nitrosamines have been identified as cancer-causing substances.

Smoke at the Workplace

A study of nonsmokers exposed to tobacco smoke at work for many years showed a dysfunction in the small airways of the lungs of the nonsmokers. This dysfunction is a biological response due to irritation. The nonsmoker is clearly affected in a physiological sense. A recent study showed that 50 percent of nonsmoking employees reported difficulty working near a smoker. Another 36 percent said they were forced to move away often from their desks or work stations because of secondhand smoke. An increasing number of state and local laws now restrict smoking at the workplace. The central concept of these laws is this principle: the preferences of nonsmokers and smokers will be addressed and accommodated, whenever possible. However, when these preferences conflict, the rights and preferences of the nonsmokers will prevail. More and more private companies also are adopting policies that restrict smoking and protect the nonsmoker at work.

Effects on Children

Babies and young children breathe more rapidly than adults. Because of this higher breathing rate, they inhale more air - and more pollution - in comparison to their total body weight. Some studies show youngsters inhale two to three times as much of a pollutant per unit of body weight compared to adults. And this assault happens when young lungs are growing and developing. A number of studies show that in their first year, babies of parents who smoke at home have a much higher incidence of lung disease, specifically bronchitis and pneumonia, than babies with nonsmoking parents. A study of the lung function of children aged five to nine showed an adverse reaction in the small airways of children who ad smoking parents, compared with those whose parents were nonsmokers. Smoking by the mother appears to have the most impact on the lung function of the child. The American Lung Association is encouraging smoke-free families so that children can have the best chance to grow up healthy. Parents who smoke at home can aggravate symptoms in some children with asthma and even trigger asthma episodes. Millions of people, adults as well as children, are sensitive to tobacco smoke and suffer smoke-caused asthma episodes. Parents should limit their smoking to separate rooms away from these children or, better yet, should quit smoking altogether. Even among non asthmatic children, a team of researchers found that respiratory illnesses happen twice as often to young children whose parents smoked at home compared to those with nonsmoking parents. In a study of 441 nonsmokers divided into two groups - those with a history of allergies and those without - 70 percent of both groups suffered from eye irritations caused by smoke. Even among the non allergic groups, 30 percent developed headaches and nasal discomfort, while 25 percent experienced cough.

Second hand Smoke and Lung Cancer

Some studies have found an increased risk of lung cancer in nonsmoking wives married to men who smoke. Although the studies are too few as yet to conclude a definite association, between secondhand smoke and lung cancer, the findings have raised concern. Since there are cancer-causing agents in cigarette smoke, it is not unreasonable to expect that inhaling these agents firsthand or secondhand could cause disease. Exposure to tobacco smoke may be similar to exposure to radiation: there are no safe levels.

Tobacco Smells

Contamination and odors are immediately created by such elements in tobacco smoke as ammonia and pyridine. Pyridine is a strong irritant that is produced when nicotine burns. The presence of a minute amount in the air produces distinctly unpleasant odors. The contamination is so intense that when someone smokes in an air-conditioned environment, the air-conditioning demands can jump as much as 600 percent to control odor. Another intriguing finding from air-conditioning research is that the human body attracts tobacco smoke. Burning tobacco smoke creates a high electrical potential, whereas the water-filled human body has a low one. The smoke in a room gravitates and clings to people in much the same way as iron filings are drawn to a magnet. And the odors linger on. Chemicals in tobacco smoke called aldehydes and ketones supply the penetrating smell, while the tars hold them to your skin and your clothes. But the smoker is not sensitive to the smell because of the destructive effects of smoke on the inner lining of his or her nose.

A Smoke-Free Society

In the mid-80's, the Surgeon General had proposed that America become a smoke-free society by the year 2000. We didn't make it. A Gallup survey, conducted for the American Lung Association in the 1980s, revealed that the majority of both smokers and nonsmokers believe smoking is hazardous to the health of nonsmokers. Translating these beliefs into social action is the challenge.

The Right to Breathe Clean Air

Nonsmokers have the right to breathe clean air, free from harmful and irritating tobacco smoke. This right supersedes the right to smoke when the two conflict.

The Right to Speak Out

Nonsmokers have the right to express - firmly but politely - their adverse reactions to tobacco smoke. They have the right to voice their objections when smokers light up. Nonsmokers have the right to act through legislative channels, social pressures or any other legitimate means - as individuals, or in groups - to prevent or discourage smokers from polluting the atmosphere and to seek the restriction of smoking in public places.

  • Let family, friends, coworkers and strangers know you mind if they smoke.
  • Put stickers, buttons ad signs in your home, car and office. Request seating in nonsmoking sections when you travel, and use rental cars that offer no-smoking cars and motels that have plenty of no-smoking rooms. Avoid restaurants and bars that allow smoking on the premises.
  • Support legislation to restrict smoking, or set up smoke-free areas in public places and at the workplace.
  • Ask your health care professional and dentist to restrict smoking in their waiting rooms and to establish no-smoking regulations in all health care facilities, including hospitals.
  • Propose no-smoking resolutions at organization meetings. Encourage hotels and restaurants to establish nonsmoking areas (preferably the whole restaurant.)
  • Encourage management and unions where you work to establish a policy to protect nonsmokers on the job.
  • Contact your Lung Association to discuss ways to protect nonsmokers at work.
  • Ask your Lung Association for information about how to help others quit smoking or how to quit yourself.
  • Find ways to work with students - It takes a Real Man to resist the pressures to smoke.
Take Care of Your Lungs. They're Only Human.

Primary Source: American Lung Association

E-cigarettes, Teenagers and Oral Health

More teenagers have tried Electronic Cigarettes than adults, with statistics showing as many as 10% of high school students having tried the latest trend in smoking compared with only 2.7% of adults. E-cig use has exploded in the past few years, and many people claim to have stopped smoking traditional cigarettes because of them. While many users also believe e-cigarettes to be safer than regular cigarettes, no definitive studies have proven that they are a safe alternative.

When looking at e-cigarettes and oral health, especially in relation to teenagers, it’s important to remember that an e-cigarette is still primarily a nicotine delivery device and there’s little debate as to the effects of nicotine on the body.

The truth is, no one is completely sure about the long-term health effects of e-cigarettes which can make them a particular concern for adolescents. Many teenagers are smoking e-cigarettes because they feel they are safe or cool. Regardless of how it’s delivered, however, nicotine is still a highly addictive drug that should be avoided by everyone, especially growing teens. With few laws banning their use among young people, it’s important to educate your children about the potential hazards of this growing trend.

Major Conclusions of the Surgeon General’s Report

  • Cigarette smoking is a major cause of disease and death in each of the four population groups studied in this report. African Americans currently bear the greatest health burden. Differences in the magnitude of disease risk are directly related to differences in patterns of smoking.
  • Tobacco use varies within and among racial/ethnic minority groups; among adults, American Indians and Alaska Natives have the highest prevalence of tobacco use, and African American and Southeast Asian men also have a high prevalence of smoking. Asian American and Hispanic women have the lowest prevalence.
  • Among adolescents, cigarette smoking prevalence increased in the 1990s among African Americans and Hispanics after several years of substantial decline among adolescents of all four racial/ethnic minority groups. This increase is particularly striking among African American youths, who had the greatest decline of the four groups during the 1970s and 1980s.
  • No single factor determines patterns of tobacco use among racial/ethnic minority groups; these patterns are the result of complex interactions of multiple factors, such as socioeconomic status, cultural characteristics, acculturation, stress, biological elements, targeted advertising, price of tobacco products, and varying capacities of communities to mount effective tobacco control initiatives.
  • Rigorous surveillance and prevention research are needed on the changing cultural, psychosocial, and environmental factors that influence tobacco use to improve our understanding of racial/ethnic smoking patterns and identify strategic tobacco control opportunities. The capacity of tobacco control efforts to keep pace with patterns of tobacco use and cessation depends on timely recognition of emerging prevalence and cessation patterns and the resulting development of appropriate community-based programs to address the factors involved.

Trends in tobacco use vary

African Americans

  • In the 1970s and 1980s, death rates from respiratory cancers (mainly lung cancer) increased among African American men and women. In 1990–1995, these rates declined substantially among African American men and leveled off in African American women.
  • Middle-aged and older African Americans are far more likely than their counterparts in the other major racial/ethnic minority groups to die from coronary heart disease, stroke, or lung cancer.
  • Smoking declined dramatically among African American youths during the 1970s and 1980s, but has increased substantially during the 1990s.
  • Declines in smoking have been greater among African American men with at least a high school education than among those with less education.

American Indians and Alaska Natives

  • Nearly 40 percent of American Indian and Alaska Native adults smoke cigarettes, compared with 25 percent of adults in the overall U.S. population. They are more likely than any other racial/ethnic minority group to smoke tobacco or use smokeless tobacco.
  • Since 1983, very little progress has been made in reducing tobacco use among American Indian and Alaska Native adults. The prevalence of smoking among American Indian and Alaska Native women of reproductive age has remained strikingly high since 1978.
  • American Indians and Alaska Natives were the only one of the four major U.S. racial/ethnic groups to experience an increase in respiratory cancer death rates in 1990–1995.

Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

  • Estimates of the smoking prevalence among Southeast Asian American men range from 34 percent to 43 percent—much higher than among other Asian American and Pacific Islander groups. Smoking rates are much higher among Asian American and Pacific Islander men than among women, regardless of country of origin.
  • Asian American and Pacific Islander women have the lowest rates of death from coronary heart disease among men or women in the four major U.S. racial/ethnic minority groups.
  • Factors associated with smoking among Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders include having recently moved to the United States, living in poverty, having limited English proficiency, and knowing little about the health effects of tobacco use.

Mexican Americans and Latinos:

  • After increasing in the 1970s and 1980s, death rates from respiratory cancers decreased slightly among Mexican American men and women from 1990–1995.
  • In general, smoking rates among Mexican American adults increase as they learn and adopt the values, beliefs, and norms of American culture.
  • Declines in the prevalence of smoking have been greater among Mexican American men with at least a high school education than among those with less education.
  • Factors that are associated with smoking among Mexican Americans include drinking alcohol, working and living with other smokers, having poor health, and being depressed.

Choosing Health

  • More than 10 million African Americans, American Indians and Alaska Natives, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, and Hispanics smoke cigarettes. Without intervention, this number may swell in the coming decade.
  • Both direct and passive exposure to tobacco smoke poses special hazards to pregnant women, babies, and young children. Babies and children who are exposed to tobacco smoke have more ear infections and asthma and die from SIDS more often. Mothers who smoke during pregnancy are more likely to have low birth weight babies and put their babies at increased risk of SIDS.
  • Smoking trends today will determine how heavy the health burden will be among communities tomorrow. Programs that reflect cultural diversity will be the cornerstone in the battle against tobacco use.

Powerful influences undermine public health efforts

  • Smoking is associated with depression, psychological stress, and environmental factors such as peers who smoke and tobacco marketing practices.
  • Tobacco advertisements promote the perception of cigarette smoking as safe and far more widespread and socially acceptable than is actually the case.
  • Tobacco companies garner community loyalty by hiring community members, providing communities with tobacco sales and advertising revenues, funding community organizations, and supporting educational, political, cultural, and sports activities.

Helping people enjoy smoke-free lives

  • Group approaches for quitting smoking generally have not been successful with members of racial/ethnic minority groups, possibly because the processes used have not been culturally relevant or because of a lack of transportation, money, or access to health care.
  • To be effective in discouraging tobacco use among young people, strategies should include restricted access to tobacco products, school-based prevention programs, and mass media campaigns geared to young people’s interests, attitudes, and cultural values.
  • Most successful programs for quitting smoking do more than deliver culturally appropriate messages. They provide practical information about the health consequences of tobacco use, resources to help people quit, and specific techniques for quitting.

Dangers of Fireplace Smoke

Even where the air is fresh and clean, indoor air quality can present serious health risks . In particular, according to the Sierra Club, "Wood smoke is the 'other' secondhand smoke. It is hard to get away from because neighborhood smoke seeps indoors even if you don't burn...All smoke is harmful to the respiratory system. Delicate tissues that are infected, irritated and scarred can cause long-term health consequences...The biggest danger is particulate matter so small that thirty particles fit on a red blood cell. Unlike a soft tobacco tar, the wood smoke particles can be solid, chemical-coated pieces of wood. Once inside the lung these wooden "cinders' swell up in the moist atmosphere and can cause even more damage than a softer smoke." 

Most people are aware that outdoor air pollution can damage their health but may not know that indoor air pollution can all have significant effects. EPA studies of human exposure to air pollutants indicate that indoor air levels of many pollutants may be two to five times, and occasionally, more than 100 times, higher than outdoor levels. These levels of indoor air pollutants are of particular concern because it is estimated that most people spend as much as 9-% of their time indoors.

Over the past several decades, our exposure to indoor air pollutants is believed to have increased due to a variety of factors, including the construction of more tightly sealed buildings, reduced ventilation rates to save energy, the use of synthetic building materials and furnishings, and the use of chemically formulated personal care products, pesticides and household cleaners.

In recent years, comparative risk studies performed by EPA and its Science Advisory Board (SAB) have consistently ranked indoor air pollution among the top five environmental risks to public health. EPA, in close cooperation with other Federal agencies and the private sector, is actively involved in a concerted effort to better understand indoor air pollution and to reduce people's exposure to air pollutants in offices, homes, schools and other indoor environments where people live, work and play.

Indoor pollution sources that release gases or particles into the air are the primary cause of indoor air quality problems in homes. Inadequate ventilation can increase indoor pollutant levels by not bringing in enough outdoor air to dilute emissions from indoor sources and by not carrying indoor air pollutants out of the home. High temperature and humidity levels can also increase concentrations of some pollutants.

There are many sources of indoor air pollution in any home. These include combustion sources such as oil, gas, kerosene, coal, wood and tobacco products; building materials and furnishings as diverse as deteriorated, asbestos-containing insulation, wet or damp carpet, and cabinetry or furniture made of certain pressed wood products; products for household cleaning and maintenance, personal care, or hobbies; central heating and cooling systems and humidification devices; and outdoor sources such as radon, pesticides and outdoor air pollution.

The relative importance of any single source depends on how much of a given pollutant it emits and how hazardous those emissions are. In some cases, factors such as how old the source is and whether it is properly maintained are significant. For example, an improperly adjusted gas stove can emit significantly more carbon monoxide than one that is properly adjusted.

Some sources, such as building materials, furnishings, and household products like air fresheners, release pollutants more or less continuously. Other sources, related to activities carried out in the home, release pollutants intermittently. These including smoking, the use of unvented or malfunctioning stoves, furnaces, or space heaters, the use of solvents in cleaning and hobby activities, the use of paint strippers in redecorating activities, and the use of cleaning products and pesticides in housekeeping. High pollutant concentrations can remain in the air for long periods after some of these activities.

If too little outdoor air enters a home, pollutants can accumulate to levels that can pose health and comfort problems. Unless they are built with special mechanical means of ventilation, homes that are designed and constructed to minimize the amount of outdoor air that can "leak" into and out of the home may have higher pollutant levels than other homes. However, because some weather conditions are drastically reduce the amount of outdoor air that enters a home, pollutants can build up even in homes that are normally considered "leaky".

Look for more information? The EPA has a number of helpful publications on indoor air quality, available by writing Environmental Protection Agency, National Center for Environmental Publications (NSCEP), PO Box 42419, Cincinnati, OH 42419. You can also fax your request to them at 513.489.8695 or


New study on female smokers

Take a stroll down College Row or relax on the steps of Olin, and you might be surprised by the number of women you see smoking. While studies have shown that the number of women smokers trying to quit has increased over the past few years, the number of current women smokers in the nation has not, which is one reason Visiting Psychology Professor Jennifer Rose has dedicated the better part of twenty years to investigating the smoking habits of women.

Last Wednesday Rose presented her findings on the different categories of women smokers and the most effective means of helping them to quit. Rose identified three categories of women smokers: “Happy Working Women,” “Careless College Students,” and “Hooked and Unhappy.” Female smokers on campus fall into her “Careless College Students” category. According to Rose, the women in this category do not like to be told that their habit is an addiction, as they are at a state in their lives when their future health is not so important.

One smoker, Francesca Geiger ’07, supported Rose's claim, saying that most students are aware of the risks.

“You think you're resilient,” Geiger said. “It's not something you don't know; it's just something you don't want to think about right now.”

Geiger began smoking in high school, a time in her life when she was very active in basketball and other sports.

“Although it did give me a bit of a cough and definitely slowed me down on court, I made up for it in other ways,” she said. “Because I am so tall and big, I made up for my slowness by scoring a basket once I got down court. I guess you could say I used my body as an excuse.”

Professor Rose also discussed young women's anger at being told that they have an addiction.

Erin Moore ’07 suggested that, for some women, smoking involved rejecting the norms and expectations of society.

“I think that a lot of women smoke because smoking for women is about rejecting what it means to be feminine,” Moore said. “Femininity is associated with purity, cleanliness, and lack of toxins, and a woman who smokes is the exact opposite.”

A freshman smoker admitted that she would quit smoking if any serious health problems occurred, but she otherwise was not planning on quitting anytime soon. She admits that she probably should cut down on her smoking habits, but cites the social aspects of smoking as one of her main incentives not to quit.

“Especially as a freshman, it helps in social situations,” she said. “It's weird enough being alone at a party, but if you have a cigarette, it's less awkward. It also gives you a reason to leave really bad or boring parties because you have to go outside to smoke.”

Megan Lollie ’07 agreed that smoking is an important social aspect of the campus.

“When I'm here, it's a big part of my life,” Lollie said. “It's all around you, so you are constantly presented with smoking, which I don't think is something that happens as much in the real world.”

Geiger expressed similar feelings, stating that she was also fully aware of the dangers.

“It's not something you don't know,” she said. “I mean, hello, I have the pack in front of me and I can just as easily read the little surgeon general's warning on the back to learn about all the bad things that cigarettes can do to me…It's a risk I'm willing to take now.”

Moore further expressed the difficulties of defending herself in such situations.

“When someone tells you that you are addicted, it's very frustrating trying to convince them that you're not,” she said. “You are getting involved in objective discourse that automatically guarantees that if you smoke, you're addicted.”

It is also interesting to note the dichotomy between the quitting dates that senior and freshman smokers set for themselves. While the freshman claimed that she would like to quit soon, preferably after this semester, the seniors have not set such permanent dates.

“I think if I were to quit, then it would have to be at a time in my life when I want to make a big change, like getting a drastic haircut,” Moore said. “It really would be a break with something I'm very accustomed to, and I'm not yet ready for that.”

“I don't see any reason to stop smoking now,” Lollie said. “I have sort of told myself not to smoke while I'm pregnant, so I guess I'll quit when I have kids, because I don't want to put their health into danger.”

Geiger admitted that she feels that smoking is just a “college thing.”

“My parents and I have been talking, and I feel like once I'm out of college, I'll probably make a greater effort to stop smoking,” she said.

As for now, most of the girls have confirmed that they plan to continue smoking until they feel that it is time to give it up. This complacent attitude seems to match Rose's categorization of the “Careless College Students.” These women, while somewhat concerned with their own well- being, seem to lack both the time and the incentive to worry, as of now, about long-term health.

The State Tobacco Activities Tracking and Evaluation (STATE) System

An electronic data warehouse containing up-to-date and historical state-level data on tobacco use prevention and control.

The STATE System was developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the Office on Smoking and Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.

Editor's Note: Oregon is one of six states that doesn't report data.

Smoking Linked to Stillbirths, Study Says

Could a case be brought against a woman for manslaughter if she chooses to continue to smoke after pregnancy which results in a stillborn child?

Saudi Arabia Sues Tobacco Industry for Billions in Health Costs

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is seeking more than $2.7 billion in payments from the tobacco industry to cover the expense of treating tobacco-related illnesses.

Ga. Supreme Court Says Tobacco Settlement Bars Lawsuits

The Georgia Supreme Court has ruled that the 1998 nationwide tobacco settlements precludes individual state residents from suing the tobacco industry for punitive damages related to tobacco use.

Ala. Senate Says Voters Should Decide Smoking Ban
The Alabama Senate has approved a bill that would put a proposed constitutional amendment banning indoor smoking on the state's ballot this fall.

Proposed Bar Smoking Ban Holds Up Colo. Legislation
Colorado lawmakers agree that smoking should be banned in many indoor spaces, but are split over whether the bars should be subject to the ban.

Prisoner Seeks Damages for Secondhand Smoke Exposure
A prisoner at Menard Correctional Center in Chester, Ill., is suing prison employees, demanding $12 million for being subjected to secondhand tobacco smoke.

Quitting Seems Easier for Older Female Smokers
Researchers don't know why, but evidence suggests that older women have an easier time quitting smoking than younger people or men in the same age group.

Smoking Gun

Ready to quit smoking for the New Year -- again? This simple strategy can triple your chances of success.

Mothers Who Smoke May Put Their Babies at Risk for Pyloric Stenosis

Over the last 10 years in Denmark, smoking rates among pregnant women as well as the incidence of pyloric stenosis among infants declined, so Danish researchers investigated whether a mom's smoking habits might be a factor in her child's risk of developing pyloric stenosis in infancy.

Study Links Cancer Rates, Prevention

Many states with the highest lung cancer rates are squandering tobacco settlement money intended for disease prevention on unrelated programs, according to a study of health and fiscal data released by a national anti-cancer group.

Kids Getting Hooked

Every year over 500,0000 kids get hooked on tobacco. 1 in 3 of them will die prematurely. The tobacco industry is spending a record $26 million DAILY to market their deadly products. Protect our Kids from Big Tobacco. Send a Free Letter. Click Here:

Smoking Can Hurt Male Fertility

Men who smoke and are trying to become fathers may want to become quitters. A new study shows smoking can damage the sperm of men who are trying to conceive.

Researchers found infertile men who smoked show signs of significant oxidative damage in their semen. Oxidative damage is known to harm fertility and is caused by increased stress on normal body processes.

The findings appear in the September issue of Fertility and Sterility.

"Given the known potential adverse effects of [oxidative stress] on fertility, physicians should advise infertile men who smoke cigarettes to quit," writes study researcher Saleh A. Ramadan, MD, with colleagues at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Ohio. "This argument against smoking is true for anyone wishing to conceive but is particularly important for individuals experiencing fertility problems."

Although cigarette smoking already has been shown to hurt female fertility, researchers say the impact on male fertility remains a controversial issue because studies have produced contradictory results.

In this study, researchers compared semen samples from 52 infertile men -- 20 smokers and 32 nonsmokers -- with samples from 13 healthy, nonsmoking men. They found "dramatically" more oxidative stress levels in the smokers.

No significant differences in standard sperm variables, such as sperm count or activity, or DNA damage were found between the infertile smokers and nonsmokers, but researchers say the fact that both groups were infertile may have obscured some levels of DNA damage.

But men who smoked also had 48% more infection-fighting white blood cells in their semen than nonsmokers or healthy donors, which may also cause problems with fertility.
Source: Jennifer Warner,

Anti-Smoking Groups Call For Movie Ratings To Factor In Tobacco

Citing a new study that examines the ties between Hollywood and cigarette makers, health advocates are calling for the film industry to incorporate tobacco as a factor in determining movie ratings.

Smokers Disillusioned And Over-Optimistic About Quitting

Most smokers are disenchanted with smoking and would not smoke if they had their time again, according to a letter in this week's BMJ. It also shows that smokers' expectations of how soon they will quit greatly exceed rates of quitting observed in recent history.
Source: British Medical Journal,

Smoke Gets In Your Mind

Lung cancer, hypertension, heart disease, birth defects - we're all too familiar with the perils of smoking. But add to that list a frightening new concern. Mental illness. According to some controversial new findings, if smoking doesn't kill you, it may, quite literally, drive you to despair.
Source: New Scientist,

Heart Association Recommends Screenings

The American Heart Association has updated its guidelines for preventing heart attacks and strokes, listing secondhand smoke as a risk factor for the first time and recommending that people get screened for risk factors beginning at age 20.

Smokes Deadlier Than Labels Suggest

Smokers may be inhaling up to five times the amount of nicotine and seven times the amount of tar than is claimed on cigarette packaging, according to a health ministry study.

Global Alliance Between European Commission And WHO To Fight Against Communicable Diseases, Tobacco And Other Health Threats

The European Commission and the World Health Organisation (WHO) held a series of high-level consultations in Brussels to take forward their global alliance in tackling tobacco and other health threats.

Cigarette Maker Removes "Light" From Packaging

Star Scientific Inc. is the first U.S. tobacco company to announce plans to stop identifying its cigarettes as "light" or "ultralight," which critics say mislead smokers into believing the cigarettes are safer.

Pregnant Women Smokers Bear Low Birth Weight Babies

Smoking among pregnant women declined for most age groups, down to 12.2 percent in 2000. That rate has fallen steadily since 1989. The report found 12 percent of babies born to smokers had low birth weights, compared with just 7 percent of babies born to nonsmokers.


American Health & Fitness magazine ran this full page ad in their 10-11/01 issue: left showing 5 standing, lite cigarettes and reading "Stop smoking now". Top right cigarettes are almost burned to the filters and copy reads "or suffer the". Center bottom ash off one cigarette, one cigarette has fallen and copy reads "consequences..."

Baby sitters may expose infants to second-hand smoke

While some mothers who puff on cigarettes attempt to protect their infants from the smoke, researchers believe they may be ignoring other sources of second-hand smoke--such as baby sitters or relatives in the home.

Cigarette addiction can start early

Scientists have confirmed a suspicion held by some smokers but never proven: It could take just a few cigarettes to become addicted.

Some 12- and 13-year-olds showed evidence of addiction within days of their first cigarette, according to research reported this week in the British Medical Association journal Tobacco Control.

"There's been a suspicion that many people become addicted very quickly, but this is really the first hard evidence that we've had that this occurs," said Dr. Richard Hurt, director of the Nicotine Dependency Unit at the Mayo Clinic.

Experts have tried for years to determine how long people have to smoke before becoming addicted, and "the best answer to date had been 1-2 years," said Hurt, who was not involved in the study.

He said the findings will help scientists better understand the biology of nicotine addiction and lend more plausibility to the idea that some people may be more genetically susceptible to it than others.

"The really important implication of this study is that we have to warn kids that you can't just fool around with cigarettes or experiment with cigarettes for a few weeks and then give it up," said Dr. Joseph DiFranza, who lead the research at the University of Massachusetts. "If you fool around with cigarettes for a few weeks, you may be addicted for life."

The study, conducted in 1998, followed 681 12- to 13-year-olds in central Massachusetts for a year and tracked their smoking habits.

The researchers did not label any of them addicted because the standard definition of nicotine dependence assumes addiction cannot happen without prolonged heavy smoking. The scientists simply recorded symptoms that indicate addiction.

These include cravings, needing more to get the same buzz, withdrawal symptoms when not smoking, feeling addicted to tobacco and loss of control over the number of cigarettes smoked or the duration of smoking.

Ninety-five of the youths said they had started smoking occasionally - at least one cigarette a month - during the study. The scientists found that 60, or 63 percent, had one or more symptoms of addiction.

A quarter of those with symptoms got them within two weeks of starting to smoke and several said their symptoms began within a few days.

Sixty-two percent said they had their first symptom before they began smoking every day, or that the symptoms made them start smoking daily.

The researchers found that the symptoms began soon after the teens started smoking.

Even though some people who have never smoked on a daily basis can find it hard to quit, the assumption that smokers only become addicted after smoking a lot of cigarettes over a long period of time came from observations that some people can smoke five cigarettes a day for many years and not become addicted, the study noted.

However, it has never been proven that daily smoking is necessary for addiction to begin, the study added.

The scientists suggested there may be three types of smokers: Those who become addicted very quickly, those who get hooked gradually after more regular smoking and those who can smoke lightly or pick up and drop the habit without becoming addicted.

It is also possible that adolescents could be more sensitive to nicotine and that addiction may take longer in people who start smoking at a later age, they added.

Nicotine addiction can hit within days

Addiction to nicotine may start within a few days of starting to smoke and after just a few cigarettes, researchers reported on Tuesday, contradicting belief that nicotine addiction is a gradual process.

"The first symptoms of nicotine dependence can appear within days to weeks of the onset of occasional use, often before the onset of daily smoking," the researchers from the University of Massachusetts and Harvard Medical School said in the journal Tobacco Control.

This research goes against a "popular model for the development of nicotine dependence (which) holds that youths progress from the first cigarette through a period of occasional use and on to sustained and increasingly heavier daily use, resulting ultimately in dependence," the researchers added.

The study of about 700 teenagers aged between 12 and 13 from seven schools in central Massachusetts in 1998 showed that 95 students could be described as monthly smokers--they smoked at least one cigarette a month.

Of these 95 monthly smokers one in five reported nicotine dependency symptoms within four weeks of starting to smoke and 16 developed symptoms within two weeks, one of the researchers, Joseph DiFranza, told Reuters.

In total 60 out of 95 monthly smokers said they had experienced one or more symptoms of nicotine dependence.

Thirty-seven of the 60 who had experienced symptoms of nicotine dependency said they had felt their first feelings of dependency even before they started smoking daily or began smoking daily only upon starting to feel dependent.

The researchers said experiments on mice showed the number of nicotine receptors in the brain increased rapidly after just the second dose of nicotine, providing a mechanism for the quick development of dependence.

The researchers further postulated that three groups of individuals distinguishable by their dependence on nicotine may exist. The groups could be described as rapid onset, slower onset and resistant to nicotine addiction, they added.

Smoking has been linked to several diseases including lung cancer and asthma. Lung cancer is the most common form of cancer in the world and is extremely deadly. The American Cancer Society predicts 164,000 Americans will be diagnosed with the cancer this year and 156,000 will die of it.

Where to Write

Both complete and summary versions of Tobacco Use Among U.S. Racial/Ethnic Groups—African Americans, American Indians and Alaska Natives, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, and Hispanics: A Report of the Surgeon General are available. For more information about the report or to order a free executive summary, either call 770/488-5705 (press 2) or call 1-800-CDC-1311 for a faxed version of the executive summary. Access the Office on Smoking and Health at for additional information, or write: (1) Office on Smoking and Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4770 Buford Highway, NE (Mail Stop K-50), Atlanta, GA 30341-3717 or (2) U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health.


  • American Cancer Society, 1599 Clifton Road, NE, Atlanta, Georgia 30329-4251, 800.ACS.2345, 404.329.5739,
  • American Urological Association, 1120 N. Charles St., Baltimore, MD 21201, 410.727.1100
  • Impotence Information Center, 800.843.4315, 800.543.9632. For information on stopping smoking, contact: Cancer Information Service (CIS), a program of the National Cancer Institute, at 800.4.CANCER, 800.422.6237.
  • Medical Reporter/Joel R. Cooper Creative Services, Medical & Healthcare writing, editing and reporting, PO Box 370314, Denver, CO 80237. 303.337.6299; Joel Cooper,


Information on Smokeless Tobacco, Snuff and DIP

Consumption of moist snuff and other smokeless tobacco products in the United States almost tripled from 1972 through 1991. Long-term use of smokeless tobacco is associated with nicotine addiction and increased risk of oral cancer---the incidence of which could increase if young persons who currently use smokeless tobacco continue to use these products frequently. To monitor trends in the prevalence of use of smokeless tobacco products, CDC's 1991 National Health Interview Survey--Health Promotion and Disease Prevention supplement (NHIS-HPDP) collected information on snuff and chewing tobacco use and smoking from a representative sample of the U.S. civilian, noninstitutionalized population aged greater than or equal to 18 years. This report summarizes findings from this survey.

The Surgeon General's Report for Kids about Smoking

Spit (Smokeless) Tobacco
In 1986, the U.S. Surgeon General concluded that the use of spit tobacco is not a safe substitute for smoking cigarettes or cigars, as these products can cause various cancers and noncancerous oral conditions, and can lead to nicotine adiction. Some of these conditions are listed below.

  • Cancer of the mouth and pharynx
  • Leukoplakia (white sores in the mouth that can lead to cancer)
  • Gum recession, or peeling back of gums
  • Bone loss around the teeth
  • Abrasion of teeth
  • Bad breath

The most serious health effect of spit tobacco is an increased risk of cancer of the mouth and pharynx. Oral cancer occurs several times more frequently among snuff dippers compared with non-tobacco users. The risk of cancer of the cheek and gums may increase nearly 50-fold among long-term snuff users.

Leukoplakia is a white sore or patch in the mouth that can become cancerous. Studies have consistently found high rates of leukoplakia at the place in the mouth where users place the "chew." One study found that almost 3/4 of daily users of moist snuff, and chewing tobacco had non-cancerous or pre-cancerous lesions (sores) in the mouth. The longer you use spit tobacco, the more likely you are to have leukoplakia.

Studies have shown that about 7% to 27% of regular spit tobacco users have gum recession and bone loss around the teeth. The surface of the tooth root may be exposed where gums have drawn back. Tobacco can irritate or destroy the tissue.

Spit tobacco may also play a role in cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure. Nicotine enters the users' bloodstream through the lining of the mouth and/or the gastrointestinal tract. Nicotine causes your heart to beat faster and your blood pressure to go up.

Why Is It So Hard To Quit?

Spit tobacco delivers a high dose of nicotine. An average dose for snuff is 3.6 mg, for chewing tobacco, 4.6 mg - compared to 1.8 mg for cigarettes. Blood levels of nicotine throughout the day are similar among smokers and those who use spit tobacco.

A report in the Journal of the American Medical Association calculated that smokeless tobacco users ". . . who use dip or chew 8-10 times a day might be exposed to the same amount of nicotine as people who smoke 30-40 cigarettes a day." Stopping spit tobacco use causes symptoms of nicotine withdrawal that are similar to those smokers get when they quit.

In a study of Swedish oral snuff users, many of the participants said they were addicted to snuff, and they reported having as much trouble giving up spit tobacco as did cigarette smokers trying to quit smoking. Evidence also suggests that when regular snuff users can't use snuff, they will smoke cigarettes to satisfy their need for nicotine.

How Nicotine Affects the Body

Nicotine is a drug found naturally in tobacco. It is highly addictive, as addictive as heroin and cocaine. The body becomes physically and psychologically dependent on nicotine, and studies have shown that users must overcome both of these to be successful at quitting and staying quit.

Nicotine affects many parts of the body, including your heart and blood vessels, your hormonal system, your metabolism, and your brain. During pregnancy, nicotine freely crosses the placenta and has been found in amniotic fluid and the umbilical cord blood of newborn infants. Nicotine is metabolized mainly by the liver and lungs, but a small amount is excreted by the kidneys. Nicotine is broken down by the body into the by-products cotinine and nicotine-N'-oxide.

Nicotine produces pleasurable feelings that make the tobacco user want to use more and also acts as a depressant by interfering with the flow of information between nerve cells. As the nervous system adapts to nicotine, tobacco users tend to increase the amount of tobacco they use, and hence the amount of nicotine in their blood. After a while, the tobacco user develops a tolerance to the drug, which leads to an increased use over time. Eventually, the tobacco user reaches a certain nicotine level and then keeps up the usage to maintain this level of nicotine.

Immediate Benefits of Quitting

There are many reasons to stick it out through withdrawal and quit using tobacco for good. In addition to the health reasons mentioned earlier, consider the following.

Chewing and dipping carry a heavy social stigma, especially with the opposite sex. Bad breath, gum disease, and discolored teeth are very unappealing. The spitting associated with spit tobacco use is offensive and has a potential health risk as well.

The tobacco habit can be expensive. It isn't hard to figure out how much you spend on tobacco: multiply how much money you spend on tobacco every day by 365 (days per year). The amount may surprise you. Now multiply that by the number of years you have been using tobacco and that amount will probably astound you.

Multiply the cost per year by 10 (for the upcoming 10 years) and ask yourself what you would rather do with that much money. Do you really want to continue wasting your money with nothing to show for it except possible health problems?

If you have children, you want to set a good example for them. When asked, nearly all tobacco users say they don't want their children to chew or dip. You can become a good role model for them if you quit now.

Quitting Spit Tobacco

Surveys show that most people who use snuff or chew would like to quit. In one survey, more than half said they would try to quit in the next year.

In many ways, quitting spit tobacco is a lot like quitting smoking. Both involve tobacco products that contain nicotine and both involve the physical and psychological components of addiction. Many of the methods of handling the psychological hurdles of quitting are the same. Two elements are unique for smokeless users, however:

There is often a stronger need for oral substitutes to take the place of the chew or snuff.

Because spit tobacco often causes sores in the mouth and gum problems, the disappearance of these after quitting provides a readily visible benefit.

People can get help quitting by calling ACS at 800.ACS.2345.

Is smokeless tobacco safer than cigarettes?

NO WAY! It's true that many people think smokeless tobacco (also known as chewing or spit tobacco, or snuff) isn't as bad as cigarettes. One study quoted in the SGR said that 77 percent of kids thought cigarette smoking was very harmful, but only 40 percent thought smokeless tobacco was very harmful. Very wrong! The truth is that smokeless tobacco use is connected with all sorts of problems.

  • BAD HEALTH! Smokeless tobacco can cause bleeding gums and sores of the mouth that never heal. Eventually you might end up with cancer.
  • TOUGH TO QUIT! Tobacco is tobacco: it all contains nicotine, and nicotine is addictive!
  • VERY DISGUSTING! It stains your teeth a yellowish-brown color. It gives you bad breath. It can make you dizzy, give you the hiccups, even make you throw up. (Definitely NOT cool!)

Finally, one more fact to chew on -- according to the SGR, kids who use smokeless tobacco are more likely to start using cigarettes, too. That's a double whammy that no healthy body can survive! So spit it out; say no to smokeless tobacco.

6 Facts about Kids and Smoking

The Surgeon Generals Report contains six major conclusions about kids and smoking:

  • Most people start using tobacco before they finish high school. This means that if you stay smoke-free in school, you will probably never smoke.
  •  Most teens who smoke are addicted to nicotine. They want to quit smoking, but they can't . When they try to quit, they experience nasty withdrawal symptoms -- just like adults do.
  •  Tobacco is often the first drug used by kids who use alcohol and illegal drugs like marijuana.
  •  Kids who start smoking are more likely to get lower grades in school. They tend to hang out with other kids who smoke. They may have a low self-image, and they don't know how to say no to tobacco.
  •  Cigarette advertisements are designed to make people think that smoking is cool and that everybody does it. These misleading ads appear to increase kids' risk of smoking.
  • Finally, here's some good news! People working in their communities -- kids who warn each other about the dangers of smoking, for example, and programs that make it harder for stores to sell cigarettes to kids -- are helping to keep kids away from tobacco.

The Real Deal about Tobacco

The Surgeon General says that 3,000 kids start smoking every day. They must not know the facts about tobacco -- if they did, they'd stay miles away from the stuff! So let's cut through the smoke and get to the real deal about tobacco.

Most kids my age smoke...don't they?

The Real Deal

It might look that way, because tobacco companies pay lots of money to fill magazines and billboards with pictures of people smoking. But according to the Surgeon General, only 13 percent of (or 13 out of 100) adolescents have smoked in the last 30 days. And only 8 percent are "frequent" smokers. That means most kids -- 87 percent, to be exact -- are smart enough not to smoke.

We don't need to worry -- smoking won't affect our health until we're a lot older...right?

The Real Deal: You already know that smoking can cause things like cancer and heart disease, but the report also lists symptoms that start to develop as soon as you smoke your first cigarette -- no matter how young you are. These include shortness of breath, coughing, nausea, dizziness, and "phlegm production." Pretty gross, huh?

But if you only smoke a little bit, that can't hurt...can it?

The Real Deal: According to the Surgeon General, symptoms like wheezing and coughing have been found in kids who smoke just one cigarette a week.

Well, at least tobacco use doesn't lead to other drug use...does it?

The Real Deal: It doesn't always, but it certainly can. Many times tobacco is the first drug used by kids who use alcohol and illegal drugs. The SGR says that, compared with nonsmokers, kids who smoke are 3 times more likely to use alcohol. They're 8 times more likely to smoke marijuana, and 22 times more likely to use cocaine. Scary, huh?

Kids who smoke think they're cool...are they?

The Real Deal: Only if by "cool" you mean kids who probably aren't doing very well in school. The SGR found that students with the highest grades are less likely to smoke than those with the lowest grades. The same is true for smokeless tobacco -- daily tobacco use is highest among drop-outs, lowest among college students.

Kids who smoke have lower self-images. They look to smoking because they think it will give them a better image -- cooler, maybe, or more attractive, or more popular. And because their self-image is low, they don't have the confidence to say no when someone wants them to use tobacco.

Well, if smoking is so bad, all you have to do is quit. How hard can that be?

The Real Deal

Most teens who smoke want to stop. Nearly half of the high school seniors in the survey said they'd like to quit smoking. But they can't because, according to the SGR, "most young people who smoke daily are addicted to nicotine." In the same survey, about 40 percent said they tried to quit and couldn't.

So maybe we're better off if we never start smoking.

The Real Deal

Quitting is not a pretty sight, because nicotine is as addictive as alcohol, heroin, or cocaine. According to the SGR, when people quit, they might experience "frustration, anger, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, restlessness, and decreased heart rate." The Surgeon General found that most smokers start before they finish high school. So if you make it to graduation day without starting to smoke, chances are you never will!

Up in Smoke!

The typical smoker spends about $700 a year on cigarettes. Think of what you could do with all that dough: Play 2,800 video-arcade games.

Have the world's greatest slumber party: Take your 40 best friends to the movies, then order 19 pizzas (with everything, of course!) to munch on while reading your 162 new comic books.

Talk on the phone to your friend in another state for 126 hours and 22 minutes.

Make a donation to your favorite charity. That way you could really help others!

Buy 1,400 seedlings to plant three acres of oak, hickory, walnut, or ash trees.

It's boring, we know, but if you put $700 every year in a bank account earning 5 percent interest, you'd have $25,003.47 after 20 years. With a sum like that you could really have some fun!

Is smokeless tobacco safer than cigarettes?

NO WAY! It's true that many people think smokeless tobacco (also known as chewing or spit tobacco, or snuff) isn't as bad as cigarettes. One study quoted in the SGR said that 77 percent of kids thought cigarette smoking was very harmful, but only 40 percent thought smokeless tobacco was very harmful. Very wrong! The truth is that smokeless tobacco use is connected with all sorts of problems.

BAD HEALTH! Smokeless tobacco can cause bleeding gums and sores of the mouth that never heal. Eventually you might end up with cancer.

TOUGH TO QUIT! Tobacco is tobacco: it all contains nicotine, and nicotine is addictive!

VERY DISGUSTING! It stains your teeth a yellowish-brown color. It gives you bad breath. It can make you dizzy, give you the hiccups, even make you throw up. (Definitely NOT cool!)

Finally, one more fact to chew on -- according to the SGR, kids who use smokeless tobacco are more likely to start using cigarettes, too. That's a double whammy that no healthy body can survive! So spit it out; say no to smokeless tobacco.

Be an Ad Buster

What is advertising? It's a way for companies to help sell their products (and make money). Unfortunately, tobacco ads don't tell the whole truth. They're a smoke screen designed to cover up one simple fact -- smoking is very, very bad for your health!

Even worse, some cigarette companies target their ads to kids. How? They use ads with bright colors and lots of pictures. And they put these ads in magazines that appeal to kids, like Sports Illustrated, Rolling Stone, and Mademoiselle.

The tobacco companies are selling an image to kids. Their ads try to make it look like you'll be independent if you smoke. But the best way to be independent is to think of yourself -- and not let a big company do your thinking for you. To get to the truth, we asked kids in Ignacio, a small town in the mountains of Colorado, to read between the lines of some popular ads

©Philip Morris Inc.

Michael Newman PHOTOEDIT Jeremy: "They make it seem like you'll be tough and strong, like a cowboy, if you smoke their brand."

Mick: "They show this clean, refreshing outdoor scene. They don't show the air filled with gross-smelling cigarette smoke."

Reality Check: One of the models who played the Marlboro Man died of lung cancer. The model who played the Winston Man is paralyzed on one side because of smoking -- he can no longer climb mountains like he did in those tough-guy ads. Cigarette ads are often set in clean, wholesome settings, and they never show smoke. They don't give you a clue about how gross a burning cigarette smells!

©1993 B&WT Co. Alison: "Look at how white her teeth are. They wouldn't really look that white if she smoked."

Daniel: "People who buy the cigarettes think if they can smoke and be pretty and thin and have fun, maybe I can too."

Reality Check: According to the SGR, "cigarette ads for women have always promoted slimness." But cigarettes are not healthy. Exercising and eating right are two of the smartest things you can do to stay fit and healthy.

©Lorillard 1991 Gabriella: "They're trying to show that if you smoke, you'll have a good time."

Daniel: "The models are always young, good-looking, and popular.

Reality Check: Cigarette ads have a hidden message: "Smoking helps you make friends and will make you desirable." But do you know anybody who desires someone with bad breath, smelly clothes, and yellow teeth? In one survey, 72 percent of high school seniors considered smoking a "dirty habit" -- and the same number said they'd rather date someone who doesn't smoke.

©1992R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. Daniel: "Camel cigarettes uses Joe Camel, a cartoon character, to catch kids. Kids like cartoons more than adults do."

Tana: "If the cigarette companies can get kids hooked on a brand, then they just might buy that brand their whole life."

Reality Check: The youth market is very important to the big tobacco companies, because young smokers are needed to replace older smokers who quit or die. Kids like humor, and kids like cartoons -- and Camel ads use both. According to the SGR, most kids pick Camel ads as their favorite ads for cigarettes.

A Tricky Way to Advertise

Cigarette ads have been banned from TV and radio since 1971. But, the tobacco companies do sponsor sporting events that are shown on TV. Then they plaster their names all over everything. During one 90-minute car race, the word "Marlboro" appeared on TV 5,933 times! How can they say that's not advertising?

©Philip Morris Inc.

Melanie Brown PHOTOEDIT Alison: "An athlete would never smoke, because it would affect her tennis playing."

Tana: "It's a way for them to advertise without advertising -- and they don't have to put the Surgeon General's warning on the signs."

Reality Check: Six years after Virginia Slims cigarettes for women were introduced, more than twice as many teenage girls were smoking. And tobacco companies say they don't target kids! (see for actual ads)

Smoke-Free Coast To Coast

Kids everywhere are banding together to stamp out tobacco. Let's travel coast-to-coast and see what kids are doing.

Huntington Park, California

Angie Yocupicio broke the law -- lucky for her she was working with the police department when she did it! Angie was part of a "sting operation" to prove how easily kids can buy cigarettes. She walked into a store and boldly asked for a pack -- or a carton! Even though she was 15 at the time, "I was rarely turned down," she says. "They sold it to me gladly." The health agency that sponsored the sting hopes stores will get the message and obey the law. Today, all 50 states and Washington, D.C., prohibit stores from selling tobacco to kids under 18.

Santa Fe, New Mexico

It's amazing what kid power -- and a little peanut butter and jelly -- can accomplish! Last year, 350 students packed the New Mexico state capitol to talk to their lawmakers about passing a law that would make it illegal to sell tobacco to kids under 18. They even brought the lawmakers p.b.&j. sandwiches to lunch on! A month later, the law passed.

Marmath, North Dakota

What can just two kids do? Plenty, it turns out, when the two are Justin Fischer and Eric Sonsalla! The only students in their grade (the whole school has only 32 students), they wanted to make their school smoke-free. Eric, age 11, admits he was "pretty nervous" when they shared this idea with the school board. But the board agreed that smoking stinks -- and now nobody can smoke at Marmath Public School. "It was a really fun experience," Eric says.

Belvidere, Illinois

Students at the Perry Elementary School think magazines read by kids should not print tobacco ads. So they picked some magazines -- including Sports Illustrated and Hot Rod -- from the school library and wrote letters to the editors, asking them to stop running these ads. When the editors didn't write back, the library canceled the subscriptions.

Perth Amboy, New Jersey

"Sometimes adults think kids don't know what they're talking about," says George Vega, 17. But George can tell grown-ups a thing or two about tobacco advertising -- and he did! His group, HORA (Hispanics On the Rise Again), took a survey of cigarette billboards in his hometown. They found there were more signs in Hispanic neighborhoods than anyplace else. "They put billboards by churches and schools and in parks where kids play," he complains. HORA is talking to the city council about dumping the signs. "We want to remove tobacco billboards," says George, "and replace them with ones for milk or vegetables -- something healthy and positive for kids."

Sean Donahue, Boston, Massachusetts

"Read my lips -- don't smoke!" With TV and newspaper reporters looking on, Sean Donahue heard his voice ring out across the lawn of the Massachusetts statehouse. More than 100 kids -- waving banners and signs that read "FRESH AIR" and "SMOKING STINKS" -- let out a giant roar. "It was exciting," says Sean, remembering his first antismoking rally.

But Sean did more than just talk. After his rousing speech, he led a parade of wagons to the state capitol. The wagons were filled with petitions asking the Secretary of State to raise the state tobacco tax by 25 cents. (According to the Surgeon General, cigarette taxes save lives because high prices make many people stop smoking.)

The hard work gathering those petitions paid off: Massachusetts voters approved the law raising the tax.

Sean was asked to speak at the rally because he's a celebrity in Boston -- even though he's only 14! He appears weekly on a WBZ radio show called "Kid Company" and even landed a guest spot on "The Tonight Show."

All the attention isn't going to his head, though. He's still a down-to-earth guy who cares about kids. "I'm not just saying this to get publicity -- I'm concerned about what's going on," he says. "Kids have to lay off smoking, because it can really ruin their bodies and their lives."

To become part of the movement against tobacco! Here are 10 ways you can help to make your world smoke-free:

Like Justin and Eric in North Dakota, you can make your school smoke-free. Take a petition door-to-door for people to sign. Then take the petition to a school board meeting and present it to school officials. Here's what a petition should look like.

As we've seen, cigarette companies try to link tobacco with athletics. You can show that smoking and sports don't mix by writing a letter to the owners of your local sports teams, asking them to make the stadium free of tobacco ads. Many pro teams are already taking action---like the Baltimore Orioles, Colorado Rockies, Seattle Seahawks, Houston Rockets, and Minnesota Vikings. These teams don't allow any tobacco advertising in their stadiums.

Write a letter to your favorite restaurant, asking them to go completely smoke-free. (Having a separate nonsmoking section does not eliminate your exposure to secondhand smoke. Just like you can't put chlorine in half of a swimming pool, you can't keep smoke in half of a room.) Tell them that when the air in their restaurant is clean, their food will taste better---and that you'll come back and bring your friends!

Try this project: In Lincolnwood, Illinois, students took a survey of local businesses. Then they used the school newspaper to encourage kids to shop at stores that didn't sell cigarettes.

Promise you'll never, ever smoke. In Minnesota, kids called Body Guards get members of their families (and other people in the community) to sign a pledge saying they'll be tobacco-free. Of course the kids sign the pledge too!

Paint posters to encourage younger kids not to smoke. With your teacher's permission, plaster them all over your classroom, library, or cafeteria.

Kids who are too young to buy cigarettes from a store often turn to vending machines. It's illegal, but usually they get away with it. So talk to your town board or city council about banning vending machines in your area. Many towns are already doing it---and in places like Perth Amboy, New Jersey, it's kids who are leading the way.

Send a letter to your local newspaper---the more people that know about the dangers of smoking, the better. After his mom died of lung cancer, Wiley Seigler of New Mexico wrote the Albuquerque Journal. Surely everyone who read Wiley's sad letter thought twice before lighting up a cigarette.

If you will graduate from high school in the year 2000, you can ask your teacher if your class can join the Smokefree Class of 2000. It's a group of kids who have promised to stay smoke-free forever! For more information, write:

SFC 2000, 20 North Wacker Drive, Suite 1240, Chicago, IL 60606-2969. Or call 1-800-562-4447 If you already smoke, quit! Here are some people who can help you---or a friend---kick the habit. Call for more information---or ask how you can volunteer.

American Lung Association, 1-800-586-4872, (1-800-LUNG-USA)

American Heart Association, 1-800-242-8721, (1-800-AHA-USA1)

American Cancer Society, 1-800-227-2345, (1-800-ACS-2345)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Office on Smoking and Health, 1-800-232-1311, (1-800-CDC-1311)


Health Professionals: New Guidelines Challenge All Clinicians to Help Smokers Quit - Agency for Health Care Policy and Research.

Parents, Educators, Youth Group Leaders, MediaSharp SM: Help your kids with today's 3 R's Reading, 'Riting & Real Life.


SLAM: SLAM is a fifteen-minute video developed to help young people be more aware of the power and pervasiveness of cigarette advertising and to help them explore ways to resist the influences of the tobacco industry. "Smoke Screeners" is an educational program that helps teach media literacy skills to young people. My Kids Direct involvement in your children's life is the single most important step you can take in helping them stay substance free.

Parents — Help Keep Your Kids Tobacco-Free: Tip Sheet Parenting never was easy, and keeping up-to-date with how to relate to your youngsters today requires steady attention to rapidly changing youthful activities and interests. This tip sheet suggests ways to enhance your children’s decision-making skills about tobacco use without turning them off. This one-pager is an excellent resource for all sorts of groups including PTAs, scouts, neighborhoods, and any other parent groups.

A Smoke Free Message From Christy TurlingtonCoaches — You Can Influence Youth

Tip Sheet

This artistic one-pager makes the connection between how tobacco use affects physical performance and well-being, but it does so in an entertaining way. If you are a coach, you can have a big influence on youngsters’ decisions regarding their health.

MTV Talks Tobacco

The Office on Smoking and Health has developed a video and facilitator's guide to provoke thought and stimulate discussion about teen smoking. The two-part video features former cast members of MTV's Real World and professional volleyball player and model Gabrielle Reece.

Facts on Sports and Smokefree Youth Including Special Benefits for Girls Fact Sheet

Guidelines for School Health Programs to Prevent Tobacco Use and Addiction Outlines steps to help school personnel plan, implement, and assess programs and policies for preventing tobacco use. (PDF-227K) This document is available in Portable Document Format. You will need Acrobat Reader to view this document.

Additional Web Sites for Parents/Educators/Youth Group Leaders


What You(th) Should Know about Tobacco Tip Sheet

If you are in a youth group, or if you help with a youth group, this tip sheet is an easy resource to communicate the common sense of avoiding tobacco use.

Kick Butts Online---TIPS 4 Kids

Prevent the Addiction---TIPS 4 Teens


  • Cessation
  • You Can Quit Smoking Consumer Cessation Guide
  • Smoking Quit Tips: Don't Let Another Year Go Up In Smoke
  • Health Consequences
  • Cigarette Smoking-Related Mortality Fact Sheet
  • Secondhand Smoke/Environmental Tobacco Smoke
  • Secondhand Smoke in Your Home Fact Sheet
  • Statistics- Prevalence
  • Smoking Prevalence Among U.S. Adults Fact Sheet
  • Workplace Issues
  • Making Your Workplace Smokefree--A Decision Maker's Guide
  • Youth
  • Facts on Sports and Smokefree Youth Including Special Benefits for Girls Fact Sheet
  • Health Effects of Smoking Among Young People Fact Sheet
  • Youth Smoking, Health, and Performance Fact Sheet
  • Incidence of Initiation of Cigarette Smoking Among U.S. Teens Fact Sheet

Fact Sheets

  • Cigarette Smoking-Related Mortality
  • Facts on Sports and Smokefree Youth Including Special Benefits for Girls
  • Health Effects of Smoking Among Young People
  • Incidence of Initiation of Cigarette Smoking Among U.S. Teens
  • Secondhand Smoke in Your Home
  • Smoking Prevalence Among U.S. Adults
  • State-Specific Adult Smoking Prevalence, Smokeless Tobacco Prevalence and State Tax-Paid Per Capita Sales of Cigarettes
  • Youth Smoking, Health, and Performance
  • Facts on Women and Tobacco
  • Parents---Help Keep Your Kids Tobacco-Free
  • Coaches---You Can Influence Youth
  • What You(th) Should Know about Tobacco

Pre Teen Boys
Past Month Smokeless Tobacco Use Among Boys, Grades 9-12
United States, 1993
State Prevalence


District of Columbia






New Jersey




Northeastern Region








Western Region




Southern Region




New York


New Hampshire


Average U.S.


South Carolina


North Carolina






New Mexico






Midwestern Region
















South Dakota




West Virginia

Source: In 1993, past month cigarette smoking among youth was measured in 28 states and DC using the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System.


Current Smokeless Tobacco Use Among Men Aged 18 years and Older
United States, 1992-1993

Rank State Prevalence




New Jersey


Rhode Island


District of Columbia




New York












New Hampshire




























South Carolina




New Mexico












North Dakota














North Carolina






South Dakota
















West Virginia

Source: Current Population Survey (CPS), 1992-1993, State & National Tobacco Control Highlights.

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Give me one reason
why I should believe you,