features - kickbutts
“Kick Butts Day” On Wednesday Focuses on Helping Kids Live a Smoke-free Life

by Hanna Houck

On March 16th, schools and communities across the country will be hosting “Kick Butts Day” in order to encourage kids to stand up against tobacco and live a smoke-free life.

While 80% of FCPS students choose to live a  tobacco-free life, many kids are blind to the effects tobacco has on members of their school and home communities.

If no one smoked, 1 in 3 cancer deaths would be prevented. Cigarette smoking is the #1 preventable cause of death in the US. The health and economic hardships brought on by smoking should make the choice to not smoke a no-brainer, yet some teens and adults still choose to smoke.

Nicotine is the major active drug in tobacco and it is highly addictive. Within 10 seconds of nicotine entering your body via your bloodstream, it reaches your brain and causes the brain to release adrenaline which creates a buzz of energy and pleasure. Because of the “pleasure” feeling that your brain receives from the nicotine, your brain begins to crave that feeling so smokers continue to smoke for the good feeling.

Many kids believe that tobacco intake is limited to cigarettes or cigars, but this is incorrect. Smoke from E-cigarettes is not just harmless water vapor. E-cigarettes contain varying amounts of nicotine that make E-cigarettes just as addictive as traditional tobacco products.

In addition to the health risks smokers impose on themselves, smokers are endangering the lives of their family and friends through secondhand smoke. An average of 26,000 children develop asthma every year from living in households with parents that smoke. In addition to kids and other family members, cats and dogs can be exposed to secondhand smoke and have the potential to develop cancer.  

No matter the form, all tobacco products are harmful to one’s health. On average, 1300 people die everyday from tobacco related illnesses. By choosing not to smoke, one can save around $2300 on cigarettes per year.

“Smoking is a huge health concern and it ruins your ability to function at a normal level aerobically,” said assistant principal Jason Liniger.

Liniger continued with “I have my own feelings about it [smoking] because of my dealing with cancer and anyone that would smoke is taking their good health for granted.”

“I choose to stay tobacco free because I believe that if I start something like that, especially at a young age, the addiction would start to control my life,” said Megan McGee.

“Staying clear of tobacco will give me better health now and it smells bad! I want white teeth!” McGee continued.

“I am tobacco free because it is bad for your health and I play sports so I need to be as healthy as I can be,” said Brooke Tucker.

“I stay tobacco free because you can die from smoking and I don’t want to die,” said Alec Parker.

Rachel Cheston simply said “It’s stupid,” in response to being asked why she stays tobacco free.

“It’s an expensive and disgusting habit,” said Brittany Doster.

Do not become another statistic, stand up to tobacco and say no.

Smokefreecoalitioncommittee.com

http://betobaccofree.hhs.gov/health-effects/nicotine-health/