Kick Butts Day was observed Wednesday, promoted by Tobacco Free Kids. This is a national activism day to empower youth to stand out, speak up, and seize control against Big Tobacco - a worthy effort given the influence of Big Tobacco in our state, and others.
According to Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, adults experiencing a mental illness or substance use disorder smoke at a 94 percent higher rate than adults without these disorders. In other words, they alone account for nearly 40 percent of all cigarettes smoked.
But the connection may not stop there. Smoking in youth/young adults is now seen as one possible indicator of substance abuse, or at minimum, a gateway to substance issues. This may partially account for the increasing concern regarding smoking in public spaces and where families or youth come together.
Tennessee has a 1 800 QUIT NOW helpline with free counseling and other assistance for those wanting one-to-one help quitting tobacco. While a free and quality service (by report), Tennessee’s quit line is greatly under-utilized. I would hope these counselors could stay busy. The need is great.
Makes you wonder whose “butt” is getting kicked.
Chair, Tobacco Free Chattanooga