Idaho Tobacco Prevention and Control Program
The Idaho Tobacco Prevention and Control Program, called Project Filter, is Idaho’s state public health agency that works to educate Idahoans about commercial tobacco and the many ways it can damage your health.
The word, “commercial” means tobacco products that are sold in stores or on the Internet. It doesn’t refer to the tobacco used in ceremonies that Native American Indians participate in. That kind of tobacco is called “sacred” tobacco
because the purpose is for celebration and offering prayers.
Tobacco Use in Idaho
In Idaho, 17 percent of adults smoke, which is one out of six people.
But high school students are still being persuaded to smoke, too, because one out of seven of them smokes. And 9 percent of them use smokeless tobacco.
Too many Idahoans begin smoking early—many as early as age 13. Because the nicotine in tobacco is so tremendously addicting, it’s very difficult to stop once you start. More than half the people who smoke—70 percent—say they want to quit. Nearly all of them wish they’d never started.
Tobacco’s Health Hazards
Smoking damages all the organs shown in these diagrams and causes cancer in nearly all of them.
A few of the other health problems caused by smoking include:
- Infertility, too early delivery of the baby, stillbirth, low birth weight and sudden infant death syndrome (called SIDS), are just some of the problems women can experience.
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is one of the most common lung diseases. When a person suffers from COPD, it makes it difficult to breathe. Most people with COPD have a combination of both chronic bronchitis and emphysema.
- Chronic bronchitis – constant coughing with a lot of mucus.
- Emphysema – difficulty catching your breath because of lung damage caused by smoking.
- People who smoke have 4 times the risk of developing macular degeneration, a condition in which the retina is damaged. Macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in the U.S.
- Smoking causes heartburn and ulcers.
- Smoking has been linked to impotence and erectile dysfunction.
- Smoking has been linked to a bone disease called osteoporosis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Smokeless Tobacco (Chew, Dip, Snuff and Snus)
Smokeless tobacco is the name that the tobacco industry calls products like spit, dry snuff, chew, dip, and snus (moist snuff, pronounced "snoose").
Chewing tobacco can be bought as loose leaf, plug or twist. Snuff is finely ground tobacco that can be dry, moist, or in teabag-like pouches. Snus is spitless moist tobacco enclosed in a small pouch.
Gum recession (also called gingival recession) frequently happens in smokeless tobacco users. This condition can lead to periodontal disease and destruction of the bones that support the teeth. Periodontal disease includes infections of the gums and bone that surround and support the teeth. Using a lot of smokeless tobacco and using it more often makes these mouth diseases more serious.
Oral leukoplakia, whitish-colored, thick patches inside the mouth, are found in at least half the people who use smokeless tobacco.
These patches develop about 6 months after a person begins using this type of tobacco. People who use a lot of smokeless tobacco for longer lengths of time suffer from more severe cases of leukoplakia. The majority of cases of leukoplakia go away in a little more than a month after a person quits using smokeless tobacco.
Moist snuff more often leads to leukoplakia. However, moist snuff in pouches (like snus) causes fewer cases of leukoplakia than does the loose form. But keep in mind that oral leukoplakia caused by chewing tobacco and snus can develop into cancer, though it’s not as common as in people who smoke. Laryngeal, esophageal (throat), and gastric (stomach) cancers in people who use smokeless tobacco are also possible, though rare.
As you can see, smokeless tobacco is not a harmless substitute for cigarette smoking. But as with many products humans use, safety and harm is measured by the amount of risk you face by using the product. Cigarettes are by far the deadliest tobacco product and you have a much higher chance of getting oral cancer by smoking than by using smokeless tobacco. Smoking, combined with drinking, leads to a fairly high risk for oral cancer.
What are the Health Effects of Nicotine?
Nicotine is generally recognized to be one of the most addictive of all drugs. Users can quickly become dependent on its effects (in the most vulnerable people, it takes just a few cigarettes to get hooked on the habit).
If someone suddenly stops taking nicotine, they usually experience prolonged withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety and mood swings. This causes them to crave the drug in order to try to reverse these unpleasant feelings. Because of this, the habit is hard to break.
Risks of Nicotine
Beyond the harmful effects of secondhand smoke, studies show nicotine has powerful side effects on the cardiovascular system. Nicotine:
- Increases epinephrine (adrenaline), which raises blood pressure, heart rate and respiration, and glucose levels.
- Narrows (constricts) your blood vessels, making it harder for the heart to pump blood through constricted arteries.
- May cause your body to release stored fat and cholesterol into the bloodstream.
- Damages smooth muscle cells, promoting the formation of hard plaques which lead to artherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).
Addiction to nicotine results in nicotine withdrawal symptoms when a person tries to quit smoking. For example, a study found that when chronic smokers were deprived of cigarettes for 24 hours, they had increased anger, hostility, and aggression, and loss of social cooperation. Persons suffering from nicotine withdrawal also take longer to regain emotional equilibrium following stress. During periods of abstinence and/or craving, smokers have shown impairment across a wide range of psychomotor (your brain's control over your muscles) and cognitive functions, such as language comprehension.
What You Can Expect After Quitting Smoking
You’ll discover a lot of benefits from quitting smoking, for yourself and others around you. Here are just a few:
- 20 minutes after you quit smoking, blood pressure decreases.
- 8 hours after you quit smoking, blood oxygen returns to normal.
- 12 hours after you quit smoking, carbon monoxide levels in your bloodstream drop to normal.
- 3 months after you quit smoking, your lungs work better by up to 30 percent.
- 1 year after you quit smoking your risk of heart attack drops by half.
Free Resources to Help You Quit
Project Filter’s mission is to help everyone who wants to quit tobacco succeed at that goal. We also realize that each person has to find his or her own way to quit. Tobacco use is the most preventable cause of death and disease in our society. Quitting is the best advice doctors will give you.
is Project Filter’s new web-based quit program. Quitnow.net helps tobacco users quit by offering a wide variety of tools you can use as you begin your quit process. By signing up, you can receive a 4-week supply of FREE nicotine replacement therapy products (patches, gum, or lozenges).
You’ll find these quitting tools on the site:
- Quitting Aids — These aids will help you decide what type, dose and schedule of nicotine replacement or other medication is right for you. They’ll also teach you how to use nicotine replacement products.
- Quit Guide — It’s an easy-to-use workbook that you can use in any situation to help you stick with your Quitting Plan.
- Quit Coach® — You can get expert support and assistance whenever you need it, over the phone, from Coaches who specialize in helping people quit tobacco.
- Web Coach® — You’ll have access to a private, online community where you can complete activities, watch videos, track your progress, and join in discussions with others in the program. There are more than 25,000 active members.
Go to www.Quitnow.net/idaho
to learn more about free nicotine replacement therapies and other services provided by this online tobacco cessation program.
The QuitLine is a toll-free number that lets you talk directly to expert coaches. You’ll get private counseling and support and advice on creating your quit plan. You’ll learn how to develop skills to break your tobacco habits. You can talk to a live person who will help you decide which quitting products or medications will work for you.
FREE Nicotine Replacement Therapy Products
Project Filter typically sets aside money each year to offer free nicotine patches, gum or lozenges to people who sign up on the Quitnow website or by calling the QuitLine. You can get a 4-week supply of nicotine replacement products to help you get through your nicotine withdrawal symptoms. Be sure to follow the package instructions.
Starting on February 16, 2013, www.quitnow.net/idaho is the place Idahoans can go for free online quitting services and to receive a free 4-week supply of nicotine patches, gum or lozenges.
If you signed up on the old service, Idaho QuitNet at www.idaho.quitnet.com before February 16, 2013, you can still go there for all of your free quit services. However, if you do not order your nicotine replacement therapy products (patches, gum or lozenges) on the Idaho QuitNet before February 16, 2013, you’ll have to register at the new website, www.Quitnow.net/idaho, to order them.
Take a Class and Get the Support of Other People Trying to Quit
Most hospitals and many clinics offer classes to help you quit using tobacco. All of the Idaho district health departments hold local tobacco quitting classes at no cost. A trained quit expert guides class members through the quitting process in a supportive environment. Learn first-hand from other members what’s working or not working for them.
Call the Idaho CareLine at 2-1-1 (dial 2-1-1 or 1-800-926-2588) to find classes nearby or visit the Public Health Districts page and choose the location most convenient for you.
In these group classes you’ll learn:
- Tips on how to quit
- New coping skills
- Nutrition and physical activity tips to help avoid weight gain
- Stress management
Protecting You From Secondhand Smoke
Secondhand smoke is a dangerous pollutant. It is estimated that 3,000 non-smokers die from lung cancer caused by secondhand smoke each year. Developing lungs of young children are severely affected by exposure to secondhand smoke. Children are more likely to get colds, allergies, respiratory infections, asthma, and earaches if their parents smoke.
Idaho has laws to help protect people from secondhand smoke. Currently, smoking isn’t allowed in these places:
- Public places or publicly owned buildings (for example, airport or bus station waiting areas, restrooms and offices)
- Government buildings
- Private workplaces (with six or more employees)
- Child care centers
- Health facilities
Certain cities in Idaho have their own smoke-free ordinances and they restrict smoking in other places in addition to the ones listed above. You can learn about Boise’s here
More information about secondhand smoke can be found here on the WebMd website
Want to Go Smoke-free? We Can Help!
Project Filter can help employers go smoke-free by offering signs and information resources. See the Resources on the right side for tools to help your workplace go smoke-free.
And, if you’re interested in helping others work toward a smoke-free Idaho, visit the Smokefree Idaho web page
and find out how.