ifIknew

ifIknew is a health initiative for young adults that uses a multi media approach, including social media and in person programs, to address the contemporary issues that impact the well-being, self-image, careers, and relationships of people in their 20's and 30's.

If I Knew is a prevention education project that raises awareness about risky behaviors that can profoundly impact lives.

Filtering by Category: Tobacco

Why Do We Still Smoke?

SmokingSmoking rates have gone way down in the last three decades, for a number of reasons. It’s widely known how terrible smoking is for your health; the government has made a lot of changes to warning labels and availability of cigarettes, and people just know more. So, despite these efforts, why do 19% of Americans still smoke?

  • It still carries some cachet: Despite the fact that as a general rule smoking is not the “cool” habit it once was, it still carries a certain connotation - one of independence and rebellion that we see in movies, on TV, even in books. Smokers are depicted as rogues who scoff at the rules and regulations of society, which can be enticing.
  • Sometimes, it’s still about peer pressure, even for adults. No, it doesn’t necessarily sound like it does in after school specials --“everyone’s doing it.” Peer pressure may be a misnomer. It’s more like group thinking. If all of your friends and colleagues ride their bikes, you are more likely to as well. The hive mentality goes for good things, and not so good.
  • It both stimulates and calms us. Elements in tobacco (not to mention what additives they sneak in there) stimulate - like caffeine, while at the same time slow down our nervous system. The ritual of lighting up provides a “time out.” We can develop an oral fixation for cigarettes while enjoying having something for our hands to do. Cigarettes also make us aware of our deep breathing, therefore relaxing us.

But ultimately there is one major reason why we still smoke that we all know: Smoking is, was, and always will be, highly addictive.  Check out our prior blog on the ins and outs of smoking and stopping. Most hospitals now have outpatient resources to help those wishing to quit. The American Cancer Society has lots of online tools and advice, as does Maryland's SmokingStopsHere.com.

Sometimes Quitters Do Win

Stopping smoking isn’t easy but is so worth it. Talk to any addiction counselor and they will tell you that the hardest drug dependency for their clients to give up is cigarette smoking.

Tobacco, aside from the ‘cool factor,’ is attractive as it has both stimulating and relaxing properties. Tobacco itself is an addictive substance to many, though not to all. However, there is no pre-test to know if you or I will develop the addiction to it.  (More on Tobacco)

Perhaps because smoking doesn’t interfere with any immediate functioning and its effects are so subtle, smokers tend to light up multiple times a day and for many years before they consider stopping. By that time the habit has become so second nature. And by then, stopping is a big challenge.

We have all heard of people who smoke to a “ripe old age,” while others who once they are faced with a medical crisis, just stop on a dime. They are the lucky ones and the exceptions. There are those who die from it, even years after they stopped because the damage was done before they stopped. Many others try smoking cessation programs multiple times before they successfully stop, usually with some plan of action and support.

If you’ve already started, you might consider stopping sooner rather than later. Your doctor, an experienced counselor specialist, or a visit to the American Cancer Society website for strategies and resources can offer help.

http://www.cancer.org/healthy/stayawayfromtobacco/quitting-smoking-help-for-cravings-and-tough-situations

What the Heck is Hookah?

Tobacco producers are forever finding different ways to keep consumers. An ancient form of smoking is finding new popularity among and young adults, especially in college towns.  A Hookah is a water pipe used to smoke moist tobacco by using indirect heat.    Burning charcoal is placed on top of moist tobacco (flavored with fruit and honey), then the smoke pulled through water.  As the tobacco moves through the water, it cools, making it a smoother experience for the smoker.

The prevalent belief among teens is that Hookah poses less danger to their health than cigarettes or cigars.  However, the truth is that because of the smoothness and the flavored tobacco, Hookah smokers actually inhale deeper (500 ml. per puff as opposed to 50 ml. with a cigarette).  It also has 36 times more tar than a cigarette.  Let the smoker beware.

For more information on tobacco, click here.

What’s All the Hoopla about Hookah?

Just as the Internet is no longer limited to computers, tobacco use is no longer limited to cigarettes.  As more restrictive anti-smoking laws are placed on the books, tobacco producers are finding different ways to keep consumers.  Cigars are still popular, ranking number two in use among youth.   Did you know that smoking one large cigar is equivalent to smoking a pack of cigarettes, with 40 times the amount of nicotine? Smokeless tobacco is on the rise in the form of electronic cigarettes.  However, it still has harmful effects such as oral cancer, pancreatic cancer, addiction to nicotine, leukemia, stained teeth, and bad breath.  Thirty minutes of use is equivalent to smoking three cigarettes. An ancient form of smoking is finding new popularity among teens, especially in college towns.  A Hookah is a water pipe used to smoke moist tobacco by using indirect heat.    Burning charcoal is placed on top of moist tobacco (flavored with fruit and honey), then pulled through water.  As the tobacco moves through the water, it cools, making it a smoother experience for the smoker.  The prevalent belief among teens is that Hookah poses less danger to their health than cigarettes or cigars.  However, the truth is that because of the smoothness and the flavored tobacco, Hookah smokers actually inhale deeper (500 ml. per puff as opposed to 50 ml. with a cigarette).  In addition, Hookah smokers are led to believe that the moist tobacco does not have any tar, when in fact it has 36 times more tar than a cigarette.  Tar is produced when the tobacco is burned.

No tobacco is a good tobacco.   Considering that nicotine is one of the more difficult substances to withdraw from, the best way to handle tobacco prevention is to educate children early and often.   Search for child-friendly anti-tobacco websites and view them with your kids.  While protecting your child’s health, you are also spending quality time with him or her, instilling your values, and teaching positive use of the internet.

For more on tobacco click here.