Kick Butts Day is this week and the typical “smoking is bad for you” campaign will be presented to students and staff around high schools in America. I have to admit that I have a real bias against smoking and tobacco products ever since my grandfather died of emphysema in 1996. Therefore, you know that I will be leading the “please don’t start smoking” charge in my school!
According to Livestrong, there are many reasons why teens smoke. Some of the reasons include:
- Peer pressure
- Rebellion and Image
- Family Life (parents are against it or they smoke themselves)
- Being naive to the harmful effects of smoking
- Cultural messages from advertisements like the cartoon image of Joe Camel
In my own observations, I would like to add two additional reasons that I think teens smoke:
- To release stress
- To loose weight-this one is a big one for females!
This year, our school received an opportunity from our local health department to complete a study regarding smoking awareness at our school. One of my peer helper classes decided to take on the project and complete an extensive investigation regarding tobacco awareness in our school. In this study, our students found that the tobacco policy in the school handbook had not been updated in some time. Some of the suggested updates from the students included the prohibition of candy cigarettes, electronic cigarettes, hookah pipes, and vapor cigarettes. In addition, the students found that there was no signage inside or outside of the school to indicate that tobacco was not permitted on school grounds. The students felt that the school took it for granite that students knew not to bring tobacco or tobacco products on campus.
This week our school had its first test regarding vapor and flavored cigarettes on campus. Apparently, some of the students were bringing these cigarettes on campus because the handbook did not expressly prohibit their use on school grounds. The peer helpers saw this as a great opportunity to educate the student body about all tobacco products and their dangers.
On Kick Butts day, our students will conduct a campaign to bring awareness about the dangers of smoking by conducting the following activities:
1. Hand out pamphlets and information during lunch about the dangers of smoking and its long term effects.
CDC Facts About Smoking on the Body
2. Raise awareness about what chemicals are in a cigarette.
3. Show the student body that not everyone is smoking by asking smokeless students pledge to remain smokeless by signing a pledge.
4. Educate students about the new forms of tobacco products being marketed to teens like flavor cigarettes, e-cigarettes, and vapor cigarettes.
5. Educate students about the numbers of students who are exposed or use tobacco products in the US.
|High school students who are current (past month) smokers||18.1% or 3.4 million [Boys: 19.9% Girls: 16.1%]|
|High school males who currently use smokeless tobacco||12.8% [Girls: 2.2%]|
|Kids (under 18) who try smoking for the first time each day||3,000+|
|Kids (under 18) who become new regular, daily smokers each day||700|
|Kids (4-17) exposed to secondhand smoke||39.6%|
|Workplaces that have smoke-free policies||75.1%|
|Packs of cigarettes consumed by kids each year||800 million (roughly $2.0 billion per year in sales revenue)|
|Adults in the USA who smoke||19.0% or 43.8 million [Men: 21.6% Women: 16.5%]|
6. Visually show students the numbers of deaths per year among Americans from smoking related illnesses on tombstones.
|People who die each year from their own cigarette smoking||approx. 400,000|
|Adult nonsmokers who die each year from exposure to secondhand smoke||approx. 50,000|
|Kids under 18 alive today who will ultimately die from smoking (unless smoking rates decline)||6,000,000+
|People in the USA who currently suffer from smoking-caused illness||8.6 million|
7. Educate students and staff about the “new” addictive forms of tobacco products:
Best Anti Smoking Video of 2013
I hope you get some useful ideas to use in your school! Let me know if you conducted a Kick Butts Campaign this year!!