Tobacco

Smoking Cessation Programs

Smoking cessation assistance is available to students at Brookline High School. School nurses and substance abuse counselors can provide support to students who want to quit. Substance abuse counselors have received specific smoking cessation training. In addition, many local hospitals and health insurance providers offer smoking cessation programs.

Associations that can help you to quit smoking include:

Well-rated cell phone applications include:

Smoking is the most important preventable cause of premature death in the United States.

It is now well documented that smoking can cause chronic lung disease, coronary heart disease, and stroke, as well as cancer of the lungs, larynx, esophagus, mouth, and bladder. In addition, smoking is known to contribute to cancer of the cervix, pancreas, and kidneys. Researchers have identified more than 40 chemicals in tobacco smoke that cause cancer in humans and animals. Smokeless tobacco and cigars also have deadly consequences, including lung, larynx, esophageal, and oral cancer.

In 2012, the Surgeon General issued the first report on youth smoking since 1994. The report stated “An estimated 3,800 kids pick up their first cigarette every day and 9 in 10 current smokers started before the age of 18. Some 99 percent of all first-time tobacco use happens by the age of 26, exposing young people to the long-term health effects of smoking, such as lung cancer and heart disease.”

Prevention Efforts at Brookline High School

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BHS Peer Leaders speak at The 84 Movement rally at the State House. April 2013

Brookline High School Peer Leaders are part of The 84 Movement which helps mobilize youth to take action to protect their communities from the influence of the tobacco industry. BHS Peer Leadership was one of 15 youth groups in Massachusetts to receive a $2000 84 Movement grant award in 2014.

Perhaps as a result of The 84 efforts and annual Kick Butts campaign, cigarette smoking at Brookline High School decreased from 16% in 2011 to 11% in 2013.

BHS Peer Leaders advocate for change in tobacco laws and school policies

In 2014, Leaders advocated for a warrant article that categorized e-cigarettes as cigarettes products, thus limiting sales of these items from underage youth.

In 2013, BHS Peer Leaders initiated and advocated for a warrant article that raised the minimum age to purchase tobacco in Brookline to 19.

In 2012, the BHS Peer Leaders spoke at Town Meeting to support a warrant article that  banned Brookline pharmacies and educational institutions from selling tobacco products.

In 2010, BHS Peer Leaders advocated to reduce the smoking area in front of Brookline High School.  As a result, a smaller smoking zone was created.  Peer leaders are currently drafting a warrant article for the November 2013 Town Meeting that will create a permanent no-smoking zone (distance to be determined) around the BHS campus.

Smoking rates are down but ….

Although the rate of cigarette smoking is down, the 2011 New Student Health Survey also revealed 25% of all 8th graders have already tried smoking.  Adults need to educate and discourage teens from using tobacco products.  Brookline health officials report that about 90 percent of teens who start smoking are addicted before they reach their 18th birthday.  These smokers later experience a range of preventable health issues, from chronic coronary heart and lung diseases to a long list of cancers.

Why are cigarettes/tobacco products addictive?

Nicotine, the primary ingredient in tobacco, is an addictive drug. It causes changes in the brain that make people want to use it more and more.  Nicotine addiction has historically been one of the hardest addictions to break.  The behavioral and pharmacological characteristics of tobacco addiction are similar to those of heroin and cocaine addiction.

A 2008 NY Times article, In Adolescents, Addiction to Tobacco Comes Easywarns adolescents:  “You can get “hooked from the first cigarette.”  Dr. Joseph R. DiFranza, a family health and community medicine specialist at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester, studies tobacco dependence.  His studies revealed that “very soon after that first cigarette, adolescents can experience a loss of autonomy over tobacco.”

Dr. DiFranza’s reported “it only takes a day for the brain to remodel itself in response to one dose of nicotine.  About one-quarter of young people experience a sensation of relaxation the first time they inhale from a cigarette, and this sensation predicts continued smoking.”  In one typical study, 40 percent of adolescents who tried to quit relapsed in one week or less.  After a year only 3 percent of the teens remained smoke free.