Saying “No” To Tobacco

For decades the tobacco industry has used varying ways to attract youth to tobacco and nicotine products. In response, the World Health Organization will sponsor World No Tobacco Day on May 31. The goal is to inspire young people to spread the word that they will not be manipulated into using these harmful products.

The World No Tobacco Day 2020 global campaign aims to:

  • Expose tactics used by the tobacco and nicotine industries, particularly marketing ploys directed at youth, including the introduction of new products, flavors and other tempting features.
  • Equip young people with knowledge about the tobacco and nicotine industries’ intentions to hook current and future generations on tobacco and nicotine products.
  • Empower influencers (in pop culture, on social media, in the home, or in the classroom) to be a part of the change through education and promotion of the fight against tobacco use.

The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids is working across the globe to stop tobacco from addicting a new generation of product users. The current trend toward e-cigarettes or vaping is creating a whole new set of concerns around the dangers of these products, particularly for teens and young adults. According to the Surgeon General, e-cigarette use can result in the following:

  • Nicotine exposure during adolescence and young adulthood can cause addiction and harm the developing brain.
  • The effects of nicotine exposure during youth and young adulthood can be long-lasting and can include lower impulse control and mood disorders.
  • E-cigarette use among youth and young adults is strongly linked to the use of other tobacco products, such as regular cigarettes, cigars, hookah, and smokeless tobacco.
  • The aerosol from e-cigarettes can contain harmful chemicals, including:
    • nicotine
    • flavoring such as diacetyl, a chemical linked to a serious lung disease
    • organic compounds such as benzene, which is found in car exhaust

According to the 2019 National Youth Tobacco Survey, more than 5.3 million kids in the U.S. now use e-cigarettes – an increase of over 3 million in just two years.

Visit the Office of the U.S. Surgeon General’s website for more information and tips on educating your child about the dangers of this habit.

Adult Smoking Decreases, But…

While children are the main focus of this year’s World No Tobacco Day, there are still millions of adults using tobacco-related products in the United States. In fact, despite great progress in reducing smoking levels, it remains the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S. and takes its toll on families, businesses and the government. In our country, tobacco kills more than 480,000 people annually – more than AIDS, alcohol, car accidents, illegal drugs, homicides and suicides combined.

Let’s Not Forget Secondhand Smoke

We cannot ignore the fact that smoking can have an impact on those around us who do not actually smoke. According to the CDC, secondhand smoke and the known chemicals in it are causes of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, respiratory infections, ear infections and asthma attacks in infants and children. They are also known causes of heart disease, stroke, and lung cancer in adult nonsmokers. The Department of Health and Human Services provides helpful information about the dangers of secondhand smoke and how you can protect yourself and your loved ones.

Remember, your Pearson prescription drug plan provides smoking cessation products prescribed by your doctor at no cost to you. Contact CVS Caremark (or your health plan if enrolled in HMSA, Kaiser or Triple-S) for additional information.

Sources: American Cancer Society, Association for Behavioral Health & Wellness, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Centers for Disease Control. World Health Organization, EMPOWER Retirement, Mayo Clinic, National Institute of Mental Health, Willis Towers Watson Wellbeing Ideas for Remote Employees