The Ottumwa Courier

November 22, 2012

Far too many can tell about tobacco’s cost


OTTUMWA — When you talk about tobacco use, you either like it or you don’t. You can think of it emotionally, from a factual point of view or from a financial point of view. Whatever way you choose to look at it, the data is clear.

Emotionally, far too many people can tell you about their family members who have suffered from the health cost of using tobacco. My father died from lung cancer six weeks before my 17th birthday, just before I started my senior year at Ottumwa High School. Instead of being a fun last year at OHS, it was the start of a sad year. He never saw me graduate, get married or hold my children in his arms.

The facts are clear. In Iowa, 4,400 adults die each year from their own tobacco use; 66,000 kids now under 18 and alive in Iowa will ultimately die prematurely from smoking; 3,800 kids under 18 become new daily smokers each year in Iowa. If you smoke cheap cigarettes at $4.50 a pack, smoking one pack a day for a year will cost you $1,643. Most cigarettes cost a lot more than that now. The tobacco industry spends $82.7 million a year on marketing in Iowa to advertise their product. Published research studies have found that kids are twice as sensitive to tobacco advertising than adults and are more likely to be influenced to smoke by cigarette marketing than by peer pressure. There are so many ways to look at what tobacco does, but the bottom line is that no one can afford to smoke or use tobacco in any form. It can break you financially before it literally kills you.

Nov. 15 was the Great American Smokeout. If you missed out, you can still quit for the day, take a good look at the cost of tobacco in your life and choose to quit. If you try and then start again, quit again! No matter how many times it takes, don’t give up. Make it a goal to be a nonsmoker. Take back your life from all the habits and rituals of using tobacco. Anyway, no one likes standing outside in the freezing cold or pouring rain to continue a habit that can kill them!

Cynthia Glasford

tobacco prevention specialist


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