Tobacco plays a different role in each person's life. There are those who consider themselves 'social smokers,' only smoking when they drink alcohol, for instance. There are others who use tobacco multiple times per day and are motivated to quit tobacco, yet just can't seem to kick the habit. Some are exposed to secondhand smoke and are concerned about their friends' or family's tobacco use. While others come to UND from countries with high prevalence of tobacco use and may struggle to comply with UND's tobacco free policy.
Whatever the role tobacco plays in your life, the Health and Wellness Hub is here to help you navigate through any tobacco related issue. Our Tobacco Prevention GSAs (Graduate Service Assistants) are available to assist with any questions related to UND's tobacco free policy, quit tobacco resources, tobacco prevention information, and other campus resources. Feel free to contact them at 701-777-2097 or by e-mail, UND.hwhub@UND.edu. Please visit our website, UND.edu/tobaccofree, for information on UND's tobacco free policy and quit tobacco resources.
What You Should Know About Tobacco
Tobacco is the leading cause of preventable and premature death, killing an estimated 443,000 Americans each year - more than alcohol, illegal drug use, homicide, suicide, car accidents, and AIDS combined. Cigarette smoking harms nearly every organ of the body and diminishes a person's overall health. It has been conclusively linked to cataracts and pneumonia, and accounts for about one-third of all cancer deaths. Foremost among the cancers caused by tobacco use is lung cancer— however, smoking is also associated with cancers of the mouth, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, stomach, pancreas, cervix, kidney, bladder, and acute myeloid leukemia. In addition to cancer, smoking causes lung diseases such as chronic bronchitis and emphysema. It has also been well documented that smoking substantially increases the risk of heart disease, including stroke, heart attack, vascular disease, and aneurysm.
Although we often think of medical consequences that result from direct use of tobacco products, passive or secondary smoke also increases the risk of many diseases. The 2006 U.S. Surgeon General's Report states that there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke. Breathing secondhand smoke even for a short time can be harmful and set processes in motion such as cancer, heart disease or respiratory conditions.
Cigarettes are not the only dangerous form of tobacco. Smokeless tobacco, a blanket term that refers to a number of tobacco products that are used by means other than smoking,causes a multitude of health problems. Examples of smokeless tobacco include dipping tobacco, chewing tobacco, and snuff and can cause permanent gum recession, mouth sores, precancerous lesions in the mouth, and cancers of the mouth and throat.
Tobacco's Toll on North Dakota
North Dakota is certainly no exception to the dangerous impact tobacco has on the health and well-being on its victims. In fact, tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death and disability in North Dakota, killing 877 residents annually. 600 North Dakotan kids under 18 become new daily smokers each year.
Tobacco use in North Dakota also has a significant economic impact. Annual healthcare costs caused by smoking are $250 million. Smoking-caused productivity losses equal $192 million. In summary, North Dakota brings in less than $21 million in revenues annually from cigarette taxes, yet pays out $442 million in direct medical and lost productivity expenditures related to smoking.
According to Breathe ND, the most basic fact is simple: reducing the number of people who smoke or are exposed to secondhand smoke saves money and lives.
Tobacco and UND
To provide a healthy working and learning environment, UND is a tobacco free campus. Please visit our UND Tobacco Free website for information on UND's tobacco free policy, quit tobacco resources, and compliance issues.
If you choose to be tobacco free, you are in good company. According to the UND 2012 ACHA NCHA (American College Health Association- National College Health Assessment), 88.5% of UND students did not smoke cigarettes during the 30 days prior to the survey. 96.3% of UND students do not smoke cigarettes on a daily basis. Rates for cigars, tobacco from water pipe (Hookah), and smokeless tobacco are even lower. If you'd like more information, you can access the study at http://und.edu/health-wellness/healthy-und/2012-ncha-summary-report.pdf or by visiting the Healthy UND website, under the student data tab.
Health Disparities in Tobacco Use
Tobacco use among some population groups in North Dakota can be significantly higher than for the general population. Because many of these groups have fewer resources and decreased access to health care, they are at a higher risk for tobacco-related death and disease.
High-risk populations at UND may include, but are not limited to, international students from countries with high tobacco use rates, blue collar workers, American Indians, members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) community, and student athletes.
Possible contributing factors to higher prevalence of tobacco use among the disparate populations includes stress and discrimination related to racism and heterosexism, the tobacco industry's targeted marketing to consumers including the LGBT community and American Indians, and lack of access to culturally appropriate tobacco treatment programs.
Multiple quit tobacco resources exist, tailored to disparate populations at high risk of tobacco. Specifically, NDQuits, the primary quit tobacco resource for UND students and official resource for the North Dakota Department of Health, provides comprehensive assessments, including cultural information, to individualize each participant's treatment plan. NDQuits also offers language translations services for multiple languages. Other resources include the National LGBT Tobacco Control Network (http://lgbttobacco.org/index.php) and Keep it Sacred (http://www.keepitsacred.org/network/), both dedicated to identifying and eliminating health disparities related to commercial tobacco abuse among the LGBT community and American Indians, respectively.
While UND advocates for health equity, there is work being done on the state level as well. In 2006, a strategic plan was established to identify and eliminate tobacco-related disparities. A report about the plan, North Dakota's Strategic Plan for the Identification and Elimination of Tobacco-Related Disparities, can be found at http://www.ndhealth.gov/tobacco/Reports.htm.
Quit Tobacco Tips
Five Keys for Quitting
1. Get Ready
- Set a quit date
- Change your environment
- Review your past attempts to quit. Think about what worked and what did not.
2. Get Support and Encouragement
- Tell your family, friends, and coworkers that you are going to quit and want their support. Ask them not to smoke around you or leave cigarettes out.
- Talk to your healthcare provider
- Seek professional help in the area of tobacco dependence from such resources as NDQuits
3. Learn New Skills and Behaviors
- Try to distract yourself from urges to smoke. Talk to someone, go for a walk, or get busy with a task.
- When you first quit, change your routine. Use a different route to work. Drink tea instead of coffee.
- Do something to reduce your stress. Take a hot bath, exercise, or read a book.
- Plan something enjoyable to do each day.
4. Get Medication and Use it Correctly
- Medications can help you stop smoking and lessen the urge to smoke. Call NDQuits or make an appointment with Student Health for more information on medications to help you quit smoking.
5. Be Prepared for Relapse or Difficult Situations
- Most relapses occur within the first 3 months after quitting. Don't be discouraged if you start smoking again. Remember, most people try several times before they finally quit. Here are some difficult situations to watch for:
- Alcohol – drinking alcohol lowers your chances of success
- Other smokers – being around smoking can make you want to smoke
- Weight gain – many smokers will gain weight when they quit, usually less than 10 pounds. Eat a healthy diet and stay active. Don't let weight gain distract you from your main goal – quitting smoking. Some quit-smoking medications may help delay weight gain.
- Bad mood or depression – there are a lot of ways to improve your mood other than smoking
*Courtesy of U.S. Department of Health and Human Services – for additional information, please visit, http://www.askadviserefer.org/downloads/YouCanQuit_English.pdf
Campus Resources for Tobacco
For additional campus and community quit tobacco resources and contacts for policy compliance issues, please visit UND.edu/tobaccofree
Health & Wellness Hub
The Health & Wellness Hub has a variety of resource materials, handouts, display boards, and GSA (Graduate Service Assistant) staff to help guide students, families, and staff through questions, choices, and issues regarding tobacco, including cigarettes, cigars, smokeless tobacco, hookah, and electronic cigarettes.
Tobacco Prevention GSAs are UND graduate students committed to providing a healthy working and learning environment, focusing on encouraging persons to be tobacco-free. They (1) provide education and outreach on the tobacco-free campus policy, (2) promote campus and community quit tobacco services and offer assistance to those who are interested in accessing them, and (3) offer instructional sessions and materials on best practices in tobacco prevention, policy, and cessation to the campus community. They are here to help in whatever way they can! Feel free to contact them at 701-777-2097 or by e-mail, UND.hwhub@UND.edu
Healthy UND Tobacco Free Campus Task Group
The Healthy UND Tobacco Free Campus Task Group is a sub-committee of the Healthy UND Coalition. They have two goals – to reduce tobacco use rates and reduce exposure to second hand smoke. Please see their website for more information to include group recommendations, a summary report, and meeting agendas and minutes.