Choose Healthy Lungs

Tobacco Prevention

Tobacco use kills more than 11,000 Georgians every year and drains $1.2 billion from our economy. Nearly one in every six deaths in Georgia is related to smoking, and cigarettes kill more Georgians than alcohol, car accidents, suicide, AIDS, homicide and illegal drugs combined. Smoking causes nearly 90% of all lung cancer in Georgians and also is a major cause of heart disease and stroke. It is the leading preventable cause of death in our state.
Tobacco Prevention

Smoking Hurts You and Others

If you smoke, you are putting more than yourself at risk. Your tobacco use can harm your family members and your community.

  • Secondhand smoke affects everyone. Children are especially vulnerable because they are still growing and developing.

    – For every eight smokers who die, they take one non-smoker with them.
    – In Georgia, roughly 423,000 youth are exposed to secondhand smoke at home.
    – It takes two weeks for nicotine to clear from the air in a room where smoking has occurred.
    – 300,000 children get sick every year because someone smoked around them.

Cigaretts in Ashtray
  • Kids learn by watching.
    – Young people want to fit in with their peers
    – Tobacco marketing makes tobacco use look appeal
    – Youth see smoking in social circles, movies, video games, websites and communities where they live. Smoking is often portrayed as a social norm.

Teens Who Smoke

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 131,000 of Georgia’s youth will die prematurely from tobacco use, which causes both immediate and long-term damages, including:

  • Nicotine addiction, which leads to smoking into adulthood for 3 of out 4 teen smokers
  • Early cardiovascular damage
  • Reduced lung function and slowed lung growth
If you are the concerned parent of a teen who smokes, contact Georgia Tobacco Quit Line at 1.877.270.STOP (Spanish 1.877.266.3863) for free referral services. It is available for all Georgia residents ages 18 or older.

In its 2011 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey, the CDC found that while high school students are choosing some healthier, safer behaviors, current cigarette use did not change much between 2009 (19%) and 2011 (18%). CDC findings also indicate that:

  • The average age to start using tobacco is between 10 and 13.
  • An estimated 30,000 youth under age 18 begin smoking each year and another 10,000 start using spit tobacco products.
  • One million youth will become regular smokers this year.
  • In Georgia, 49% of middle school students have tried cigarettes.
  • The tobacco industry spends $146 million on youth advertising each year in Georgia alone.
  • Teen smokers are three times more likely to use alcohol, eight times more likely to use marijuana and twenty-two times more likely to use cocaine.

Preventing Teen Smoking

Teens playing baseball

If you want to keep your kids from smoking, remember, prevention is critical. If a young person doesn’t start using tobacco by age 26, he or she almost certainly will never start. The good news  is that there are many things you can do to help keep your kids tobacco-free. You can:

  • Show them a world where seeing people smoke or use other tobacco products is the exception, not the norm.
  • Take steps that make it harder for youth to use tobacco, such as voting in favor of raising cigarette prices and supporting laws that prohibit the sale of tobacco to children.
  • Limit your kids’ exposure to smoking in movies and other media.
  • Educate your children to help them make healthy choices.
  • Set an example – encourage kids to avoid tobacco products.

Be An Example. Be Smoke-Free.

Quitting smoking is easier said than done. That’s because nicotine is a drug that causes addiction and is found in substantial amounts in all forms of tobacco. Several studies have found nicotine to be as addictive as heroine, cocaine or alcohol. But as hard as it may be to give up tobacco, when smokers quit, there are numerous benefits, both short-term and long-term:

  • 20 minutes after quitting: Your heart rate drops.
  • 12 hours after quitting: The carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal.
  • 2 weeks to 3 months after quitting: Your circulation improves and your lung function increases.
  • Within 9 months after quitting: Coughing and shortness of breath decrease; the lungs regain normal function, increasing the ability to handle mucus, clean the lungs and reduce the risk of infection.
  • 1 year after quitting: The risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a smoker.
  • 5 years after quitting: Your stroke risk is reduced to that of a nonsmoker.
  • 10 years after quitting: The lung cancer death rate is about half that of a continuing smoker. The risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, cervix and pancreas decrease.
  • 15 years after quitting: The risk of coronary heart disease is that of a nonsmoker.

    If you need help quitting smoking, contact the Georgia Tobacco Quit Line at 1.877.270. STOP (Spanish 1.877.266.3863) for freecounseling, support and referral services. It is available for all Georgia residents ages 18 or older.

Support a Smoke-Free Douglas

In Your Home: Make your home smoke-free. Use of tobacco products is the leading preventable cause of death in the US, killing over 400,000 people in one year. Secondhand smoke affects everyone, especially children because they are still growing and developing. To order your free Smoke-Free Home Kit, call 770.432.0112 (x230) or click here to send an email.

In Our Community: Join in supporting clean indoor air in Douglas County. Take a stand with other community members, medical professionals, businesspeople, students, school personnel and county leaders to end tobacco use in our community. Click here to learn more.

Douglas County Clean Air Ordinance: Click here to read what type of Douglas County businesses do not permit smoking

Parks: The Douglas County Department of Parks and Recreation has exhibited leadership in eliminating exposure to secondhand smoke and reducing tobacco use at all its recreation facilities.

Learn More