Tobacco Habit and DependencyThursday, April 14, 2011 5:27
There are 3,000 children trying tobacco every day. The tobacco industry described children as their “replacement smokers.” Three out of four children will try tobacco. Three out of five children who try cigarettes will become daily smokers.
Nicotine dependency is a pediatric disorder. The average age of first use is 11 in the United States. Tobacco is the first mood-altering drug that is tried by half our youth; the other half try alcohol. Nineteen percent of eighth graders and 36 percent of high school seniors reported smoking in the past month in 1997. Of those children, 3.5 percent of eighth graders and 14 percent of seniors smoke more than a half pack of cigarettes a day. Half of all adolescent smokers will be smoking 20 years from now.
The weight of the research evidence points to the probability that there are inherited factors that place some people at greater risk to become tobacco users. We do not yet know which specific gene(s) influences this behavior, how these factors interrelate with parental and environmental factors, or if they are the same in males and females. At this time, inherited vulnerability is estimated to be 40 to 65 percent.
The number of people who die prematurely because of their tobacco use is the equivalent of three 747 jumbo jets crashing every day of the year ? that adds up to 1,475 deaths per day, and 540,000 deaths per year, making tobacco use the leading killer of our citizens.
Some tobacco facts:
Young people consistently report having little difficulty obtaining tobacco products in commercial stores, vending machines, and from family members and friends.
The cigarette kills half of those who continue to use it. Among those living today who use cigarettes, 500 million will be fatally poisoned by their smoking.
You can become dependent on tobacco within 3 months of your first use. The number of people who are dependent on nicotine is higher than for any other drug.
80 percent of tobacco users use some other drug, such as alcohol or marijuana.
Only 10 percent of tobacco users are “social” or occasional users. Social smokers use no more than 5 cigarettes a day.
Stress results in increased tobacco use, but there is little evidence that using tobacco reduces stress. Surveys indicate that smokers are more stressed than non-smokers, and that individuals report feeling less stressed after they quit using tobacco. It is possible that tobacco use may worsen stress because of the negative moods that occur during times of nicotine deprivation.
There are so many different types of tobacco users, that each person must create their own plan to reduce or quit their tobacco use. A one-size-fits-all plan is not effective. The most effective way to reduce or quit tobacco use is plan that combines nicotine replacement therapy with behavioral, and psychological changes.