LAS VEGAS –It’s time to kick some butt(s)… Wednesday, March 18 is national Kick Butts Day, a nationwide initiative, sponsored by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids to stop tobacco use by children and young adults.
This year, the Southern Nevada Health District’s tobacco control program will focus on educating teens about hookah smoking, which has become increasingly popular among young people. The program’s teen coalition, BreakDown, is collecting photos of students at local high schools with signs that include hookah smoking facts. The photos are posted on BreakDown’s social media sites.
Many believe that hookah smoking is safer than traditional cigarettes because the smell, taste and smoothness of sweetened tobacco is less irritating. Research has found:
One hour of smoking hookah smoking is like smoking 100-200 cigarettes
Hookah sessions usually last approximately 40-45 minutes. It takes 5-10 minutes to smoke a traditional cigarette
Smoking tobacco through water does not filter out toxins
Hookah contains nicotine
Hookah smoke can include chemicals and metals
Hookah smoking continues to increase in Nevada and throughout the country. New forms of electronic hookah smoking have been introduced that are battery powered and turn liquid nicotine, added flavorings and other chemicals into an aerosol that is inhaled like e-cigarettes. Hookah use carries the same or similar health risks as cigarette smoking, according to recent research.
It is estimated that each day across the nation, over 3,000 children under the age of 18 will try their first cigarette while another 700 children who have already tried their first cigarette will become regular smokers. Each year, approximately 1,900 Nevadans under age 18 become daily smokers. About 80 percent of adult smokers became regular smokers before the age of 18. Health care costs are about $1.8 billion for smoking-related illnesses and 3,300 Nevadans die from smoking-related illnesses each year.
The health district’s Tobacco Control Program combats youth tobacco use by developing programs that go beyond traditional methods, such as extensive social marketing programs, teen-focused counter-advertising activities, community outreach programs that reach into minority communities, and campaigns developed for alternative lifestyles. By using CDC’s Best Practices models, the Tobacco Control Program has developed activities and policy efforts that have contributed to a significant decrease in youth and adult smoking rates, expanded programs directed toward diverse communities, and increased knowledge of the dangers of secondhand smoke.
Smokers can contact the Nevada Tobacco Quitline at 1-800-QUIT NOW for free assistance to help quit smoking. They can speak with a professional, licensed counselor for confidential assistance. Smokers can also visit the health district’s Get Healthy Clark County website, www.GetHealthyClarkCounty.org find tips to help quit smoking and additional resources.