World No Tobacco Day31 May 2016
May 31st is “World No Tobacco Day”, an annual awareness day to draw attention to the widespread prevalence of tobacco use and its negative health effects. Here at RADAR we work with young children to promote a healthy life style from an early age, including healthy eating and substance abuse avoidance.
Smoking is the single greatest preventable cause of premature death and avoidable illness. It contributes to diseases such as cancers, coronary heart disease, lung disease and stroke as well as many others.
22% of the population in Northern Ireland are smokers, with smoking causing 2300 deaths each year in Northern Ireland and 120,000 deaths UK wide. Approximately half of all regular cigarette smokers will eventually be killed by their habit as each cigarette shortens the lifespan by five minutes, which on average shortens the smoker’s life by 10-15 years. That means 1 in 2 smokers will die of a tobacco related disease.
The statistics show that the average age for starting smoking is 12. Children who grow up with a parent or family member who smokes are three times more likely to start smoking themselves. So if you’re a parent who smokes, try to lead by example and quit!
Health effects of smoking among children and young people;
• Children who experiment with cigarettes can quickly become addicted to the nicotine in tobacco and may show signs of addiction within just four weeks of starting to smoke.
• Long-term health consequences of youth smoking are reinforced by the fact that most young people who smoke regularly continue to smoke throughout adulthood and smoking at an early age increases the risk of lung cancer. Cigarette smokers have a lower level of lung function than those persons who have never smoked.
Here at RADAR young people can have a closer look at our pig lungs, which show the effect of 20 years of smoking 20 cigarettes a day. It is not a pleasant view but it will make you think!
• In adults, cigarette smoking causes heart disease and stroke. Studies have shown that early signs of these diseases can be found in adolescents who smoke.
• On average, someone who smokes a pack or more of cigarettes each day lives 7 years less than someone who never smoked.
• Teenage smokers suffer from shortness of breath almost three times as often as teens that don't smoke.
• Teens who smoke are three times more likely than non-smokers to use alcohol, eight times more likely to use marijuana, and 22 times more likely to use cocaine.
For more information on health effects click here.
At RADAR we are aware that smoking can be associated with other issues affecting young people such as anxiety, antisocial behaviour or substance misuse. We have designed specific tours for effectively engaging young people and preventing them from getting involved in dangerous behaviour. Through our programmes KS4 students explore topics on Sexual Health, Drinking and Drugs, Mental Health and take part in a wide range of workshops based on the challenges and pressures facing young people. Click here for more information on our Key Stage 4 Education Tours.