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Tobacco prevention steps

Cory Fisher

Six steps to prevent and reduce tobacco, alcohol and other drug use among youth:

1. Recognize that all drugs are unhealthy – Smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol are just as harmful as any other drugs. In fact, these two drugs kill more people than all other drugs combined. Studies show that use of these two substances solidifies the addiction process which encourages youths to experiment with and use other drugs.

2. Seek out help for youths early – Substance-using youths are more likely to break their addiction if help is sought out early. Don’t wait for a situation to improve on its own.

3. Reduce youth access to drugs – Many young people are able to purchase tobacco and alcohol from stores. The legal age to purchase tobacco is 18, and 21 for alcohol. If you know of a business that is illegally selling these products to minors, call (800) 527-5443 for tobacco sales, and (530) 263-3575 for alcohol sales.

4. Model healthy behavior – Children often model what they observe. If schools are able to make an impact with lessons taught about drugs, the community’s adults must support these efforts.

5. Stop advertising aimed at children – The tobacco and alcohol industries heavily promote their products to youths. For example, using cartoon characters in advertising campaigns and paying merchants to display them. Local coalitions of concerned citizens are working to combat advertising aimed at children. For details, call (530) 621-6130.

6. Support prevention programs for youth – Drug prevention programs for youths have been significantly reduced in recent years due to funding cuts. Alternative funding sources must be explored in order for these programs to continue.

Source: El Dorado County Health Department and Office of Education.


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