Monday, November 26, 2012

A member post on tobacco education efforts

● According to the Centre for Disease Control, among adults who smoke, 85 percent started when they were 21 or younger.

● Every day, almost 3,900 children under 18 years of age try their first cigarette. More than 950 of them will become new, regular daily smokers. Half of them will ultimately die from their habit.

Although many consider tobacco education to be “a high-school thing”, a significant number of young people actually start smoking in college. College students consume tobacco for a variety of reasons: stress, weight loss, social interactions…etc. Because smoking is often precipitated by social factors, and because college students’ social groups often revolve around school, school-based programs are powerful in preventing young people from having their first cigarette and in motivating those who are already smoking quit. A University of Southern California review of more than 30 school programs and found that they can reduce existing youth smoking by as much as 20 percent while also effectively curbing the number of young people who ever start.

Nonetheless, it can be tricky to effectively advocate and educate college-aged students about the harms of tobacco. After all, these are educated and independent young people that have pre-existing personal beliefs and can form their own opinions. Therefore, effective tobacco education programs should be comprehensive in addressing a variety of issues:
• Education about the immediate and long-term undesirable physiologic, cosmetic, and social consequences of tobacco use.
• Information about the reasons teens begin to smoke, such as a desire for maturity and acceptance,
and should offer them more positive means to achieve these same goals.
• Development of personal skills, such as assertiveness, confidence, and problem-solving skills, that
will aid students in avoiding tobacco use as well as other risky behaviors.

Importantly, to reinforce this educational effort, schools should enforce policies that forbid smoking or other tobacco use by students, staff, or visitors on campus or at school activities, and provide smokers with cessation information and assistance. The goals of Hopkins Kicks Butts are to educate people about the harms of tobacco use and to create a smoke-free environment for students, faculty, and staff. Today, that mission continues.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Want to Kick the Habit?

                According to the Center for Disease Control, tobacco dependence is the most common form of chemical addiction in the United States; naturally-occurring nicotine is fast-acting and may be as addictive as alcohol or heroine. Tobacco dependence is a serious, chronic condition, and quitting may involve several bouts with relapse and withdrawal, but it can and has been done.

                Though not as effective as never smoking in the first place, cessation has been shown to reduce a smoker’s risk of lung cancer to that of a non-smoker within fifteen years, not to mention the reduced risks of coronary heart disease, peripheral vascular disease, stroke and COPD. Therefore, the earlier one decides to quit, the higher the likelihood of a favorable outcome. Fortunately, nearly 70% of current American smokers report that they want to quit permanently, and 62.4% of Americans aged 18-24 stopped for more than 1 day in 2010 because of their intention to cease.

              Once the hurdle of deciding to quit has been passed, there are several routes one can take:

  • Habit breaking techniques
    • Put together a list of reasons why you want to quit and place it near where you keep your cigarettes as a reminder
    • Think about when and where you tend to smoke, and make plans to be somewhere else or with other people instead
    • Place the contents of your ashtray in a jar, dump in a few cups of water and leave the jar alone until you are hit with a craving. “It’s really disgusting; it’ll make you never want to see a cigarette again,” according to Dr. Coral Avon, a behavioral health specialist in Miami and former smoker
    • Reward yourself with small things such as a fancy dinner or visit to the spa when you overcome             a craving or at other, regular intervals of time
    • Gradually replace tobacco with less harmful habits, even electronic or water vapor cigarettes
    • Be your own devil’s advocate: dispute your irrational urges
  • Clinical support, where your physician takes time to offer advice and assistance
  • Group counseling, even with family and friends
  • Over-the-counter products such as nicotine patches/lozenges as well as prescription therapies including Chantix and Zyban have been proven effective

                All in all, those who commit themselves to quitting are likely to enjoy a reduced risk of disease or premature death, and although it is more effective in those who quit early, cessation is beneficial for smokers of all ages. Since 2002, former smokers in the United States have outnumbered current smokers; support is available, and breaking free of dependence is not out of reach.


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

HKB Member Blog- Health Effects of Tobacco Use

Health Effects of Tobacco Use

There is an abundance of detrimental health effects of tobacco use.

Tobacco use currently leads to 20% of deaths in the US annually, or in other words, 443,000 deaths per year.

There are many cancers, associated with tobacco use, including cancer of the: bladder, cervix, esophagus, kidneys, larynx, oral cavity, pancreas, pharynx, stomach, and lungs.

Tobacco use is a cause of lung cancer and leads to approximately 80% of women’s lung cancer deaths and 90% of men’s lung cancer deaths. Women are 13 times more likely to obtain lung cancer if smoking tobacco, and men are 23 times more likely to do so.

Smoking also increases the risk of lung diseases such as emphysema, bronchitis, chronic airway obstruction and leads to one being 13 times more likely to die from chronic obstructive lung diseases.   

Tobacco use additionally harms ones cardiovascular health, for smoking is a cause of coronary heart disease, abdominal aortic aneurysm, and increases one’s risk of obtaining peripheral vascular disease.

Smoking is also attributed to infertility, and has adverse impact on young ones, including: preterm delivery, still birth, low birth weight, and sudden infant death syndrome, also known as SIDS.

It is evident that there is a dearth of health reasons why one should not smoke tobacco. Hopefully this will move people to not start the habit, and quit if they have! Remember, HKB is on your side!!


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

HKB Blogger: Smoke-Free Campus Initiative

There are currently at least 774 colleges and universities across the United States that have a 100% smoke-free or tobacco free campus. Surprisingly Johns Hopkins is not one of them.  This major leap on college campuses is the best method to protect students, faculty, and employees from second hand smoke as well as encouraging those who smoke to quit. According to the 2012 Surgeon General's Report on Tobacco Use Among Youth and Young Adults:

·         In 2010, there were more than 20 million students enrolled in degree-granting institutions. This does not include faculty, staff, and visitors to campuses who are also impacted by a smoke-free or tobacco-free campus policy.
·         Many risk factors, including tobacco use, peak from 18-25 years of age; college attendance could be a turning point in choosing not to use tobacco
·         24.8% of full-time college students aged 18-22 years old were current smokers in 2010.
·         The number of smokers who initiated smoking after age 18 increased from 600,000 in 2002 to 1 million in 2010.
·         Progression from occasional to daily smoking almost always occurs by age 26.
·         While smoking rates are higher for their peers not enrolled in college, college students and campus policies offer a unique opportunity to create and sustain tobacco-free living. (

For a university that emphasizes and excels in public health and medicine, it simply does not make sense that smoking is still permitted especially on a campus where most of the undergraduate students live and study. The State of Maryland specifies that people smoking should be 15 feet away from a building. However, Johns Hopkins University does not indicate these laws in the student handbook or in student life policies and there is little to no enforcement of this law on campus. There are people smoking right outside classroom buildings, the library and on pathways with heavy pedestrian traffic. This is harmful and unpleasant for passerbys who do not wish to encounter second hand smoke. It is time that we make the leap as well and promote a healthier smoke-free campus.

Want to know who else has gone smoke-free?  See this list for a state by state listing of colleges and universities that have taken on the policy change.

Want to know more about going smoke-free? Come to our meeting tonight at 6pm in Mattin 160!

HKB Blogs Again!

Our HKB members are blogging!  Look for bi-monthly blog posts from our members about different topics important to the tobacco prevention movement.  And if you want to know more- come to our meetings! This week's meeting is tonight (9/26) at 6pm in Mattin 160.  Hope to see you there!


This blog is not meant to be a comprehensive alternative to the formal HKB Smoke-free Campus Policy Proposal. If you would like more information regarding data and research, or to request a copy of the formal proposal in its current state, please do not hesitate to contact HKB at We are more than happy to supply you with any supporting documentation and further explainations.