No place in school for tobacco

Published 10:23 am Monday, February 20, 2017

The next time you visit your child’s or grandchild’s school — whether they are in elementary, middle or high school — look around when you’re in their classroom.

Two or three of the kids in that classroom will die prematurely from a smoking-related illness if smoking continues at its current rate among young Americans, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates.

The effects of the scourge of tobacco use cannot be understated, according to the CDC:

• Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States.

• Cigarette smoking is responsible for more than 480,000 deaths per year in the United States, including more than 41,000 deaths resulting from secondhand smoke exposure.

• On average, smokers die 10 years earlier than nonsmokers.

• Every day, more than 3,200 people younger than 18 years of age smoke their first cigarette.

• Every day, an estimated 2,100 youth and young adults who have been occasional smokers become daily smokers.

These facts and more shine a glaring light on the importance of keeping young people from becoming smokers.

To further discourage students and adults from taking up or continuing the habit, Southampton County Schools, for example, does not permit chewing tobacco or smoking of any kind, in either the schools or school vehicles. That’s not limited just to students, but includes staff and visitors as well.

True, smoking might well be a pleasure at first, but then it just becomes an addiction. No one needs that, especially children.