It’s a GAS, gas, gas

by Brad Taft
Health Promotion Outcomes Researcher U.S. Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventative Medicine

Smoking tobacco can be disabling and deadly — we all know that.

Even so, tobacco is a legal product that can be purchased at the age of 18 in nearly every state (Alabama, Alaska, New Jersey, Utah and parts of New York have a minimum age of 19). But, the right to smoke has some restrictions.Why? Because the deadly products of smoking tobacco affect not only the smoker, but also other people.

In 2006, the U.S. surgeon general published “The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke.” Involuntary exposure to tobacco smoke is often called “secondhand smoke.” Here is what the report said:

1. Secondhand smoke causes premature death and disease in children and in adults who do not smoke.

2. Children exposed to secondhand smoke are at an increased risk for sudden infant death syndrome, acute respiratory infections, ear problems and more severe asthma. Smoking by parents causes respiratory symptoms and slows lung growth in their children.

3. Exposure of adults to secondhand smoke has immediate adverse effects on the cardiovascular system and causes coronary heart disease and lung cancer.
The American Lung Association reports that secondhand smoke causes approximately 3,400 lung cancer deaths and 46,000 heart disease deaths in adult nonsmokers in the United States each year — did you get that? NONSMOKERS.

You don’t have to be a smoker to get hurt by tobacco smoke. Secondhand smoke has serious negative effects on the health of nonsmokers, especially children.

Ramstein will celebrate the Great American Smokeout Nov.15.

Are you thinking about quitting? Perhaps you want to, but have some hesitation. The Ramstein Clinic’s Health and Wellness Center staff wants to help you use the Great American Smokeout to make that commitment to quit.

• 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday,  stop by the HAWC to pick up a “Tobacco Toolkit to Quit.” Use this package of materials to help work through the reasons to quit using tobacco. This toolkit will help you make your final quit plan.

• The HAWC is sponsoring a tobacco facilitator training course 8 a.m. to noon Nov. 16. This course will assist participants in becoming effective tobacco cessation instructors and ambassadors for tobacco-free lifestyles.

• In honor of the Great American Smokeout, the Ramstein HAWC is teaming up with Services to provide the annual Turkey Trot Nov. 17, at the CTS compound.

Free turkeys will be provided to the first group of tobacco users who put down their tobacco products for the day.
For more information about the Great American Smokeout or programs, call the HAWC at 480-4292.