The Truth About Tobacco in the Uintah Basin
Tobacco may be considered the biggest “scam” of the last 100 years. The tobacco industry was the first to really understand what brain science research was saying, and they took it and ran with it. The marketing strategies of the tobacco industry revolutionized the art of suckering young people out of their money and health for a worthless product.
The Tobacco industry determined how to manipulate everyday citizens to purchase cigarettes, a product that will kill the people who use it. The best thing to do with tobacco is never use it. If you do use it, the best thing you can do for you and your family’s health is to quit. Fortunately, tobacco use has been reducing dramatically over the past decade. However, here in the basin, we still see relatively high rates of tobacco use.
In our area we see roughly 15 percent of our adult population that smoke and roughly 12 percent of our adult population chews tobacco. Our youth population also is affected by tobacco. Roughly 5 percent of our youth smoke, which doesn’t sound like much, but the reality is, we have in the area roughly 1,500 youth who smoke. This is roughly the same number of individuals who attend Uintah high school.
Electronic Cigarettes: The New Gimmick
We have seen electronic cigarette use and experimentation explode throughout Utah and here in the Basin as well over the last five years. We see e-cigs primarily in youth Populations as well with nearly 24 percent of our youth either experimenting or actively using these products. What kids don’t understand about these products is that they also can harm their health. E-liquid inside of an e-cigarette contains heavy metals, and cancer causing chemicals.
Most young people don’t even realize that the same companies that sell cigarettes also own the companies that are making e-cigarettes. This means that when our youth are getting addicted to the nicotine in e-cigarettes, they are potentially opening themselves up for a lifelong addiction to tobacco.
Cost of Tobacco
One thing that most people don’t take into consideration is the cost of tobacco. Individuals who smoke understand how much it costs and on average, smokers who smoke a pack a day can plan on spending roughly $2,500 a year on tobacco.
The Societal impact of smoking is incredible as well. In Utah we spend over $540 million a year treating tobacco related illness. If you include the loss productivity cost with that figure you expand that number to over $835 million a year…All things being equal everyone in Utah essentially pays $278 a year in order to support the cost of tobacco to our society.
Resources for quitters
The state offers the way to quit program, a call in program for assistance with quitting. Pretty much all insurance companies now cover tobacco treatment medication. Employers are offering more cessation services through insurance as well.
The TriCounty Health Department also offers specific one on one help for pregnant women who are trying to quit. One of our exceptional health educators can assist with the process as well as offer vouchers for diapers.
Our health educators also can teach a youth tobacco cessation course at
schools throughout the area.