Did you know that 90% of people who smoke start before the age of 18? Studies show that because the teen brain is still developing, youth are more vulnerable to nicotine addiction. Tobacco companies know this, and have a long history of targeting youth to get a new generation of people hooked on their deadly products. According to the U.S. Surgeon General, tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the United States and world. In the U.S. alone, cigarette smoking causes almost 500,000 deaths each year. There are a variety of ways youth can get involved in ending the tobacco epidemic and helping Jeffco be tobacco-free!
Breathe Easy (BE) Teams
BE Teams are youth clubs working on tobacco prevention efforts in their schools and communities.
Teens participating in local BE Teams across Jefferson County have played a central role in preventing youth tobacco use and protecting generations to come. Supported by their high schools and Jefferson County Public Health’s Tobacco Prevention Initiative, BE Teams educate community members about the problem of tobacco and advocate for sustainable solutions, including policy change. Activities range from educational outreach to conducting assessments of tobacco-related issues in neighborhoods and presenting at local city council meetings.
Why Join the BE Team?
- Fulfill volunteer or community service requirements.
- Make a positive difference in schools and communities.
- Work on topics of personal interest including health and environmental issues, social marketing,
education, public policy, and/or tobacco prevention.
- Improve public speaking and leadership skills.
- Learn about the civic process and how to advocate for policy change.
- Build resume and earn recommendations for scholarships, college applications,
and/or job opportunities.
How to Get Involved
- If you are a student and want to be involved in something that makes a lasting difference in your school and community, check with your school’s counseling office to see if your school has a BE Team. For questions about the BE Team, contact Zach Dunlop, Youth Engagement Coordinator at Jefferson County Public Health at 303-239-7169 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Youth can also get involved with the Tobacco-Free Jeffo Alliance. For more information, contact 303-275-7555 or email@example.com.
Need Help with Quitting?
Talk to a parent/guardian, doctor, school counselor or other trusted adult to learn about ways to never start tobacco or, if you use tobacco, how to quit today. Quitting isn’t easy, but it can be done and the health benefits of quitting start as quickly as 20 minutes after your last cigarette. There are several helpful, free resources that are designed for teens who are ready to quit tobacco.
- Many schools offer a Not-On-Tobacco (N-O-T) group to help students quit tobacco. N-O-T is a 10 week, voluntary quit smoking program for teens ages 14-19 that helps teens identify healthy alternatives to tobacco use. Participants report the program helps them in areas of their lives beyond tobacco use. Ask your school’s counseling office if there is a N-O-T group at your school. For more information about the N-O-T program, visit the American Lung Association’s Not On Tobacco Page.
- For telephone support, coaching and resources to help you become tobacco-free, call the Colorado QuitLine at 1-800-QUIT-NOW or visit COQuitLine.org.
- If you prefer to receive text messages, Smoke-Free Teen is a great resource to help in your quitting journey. Visit Teen.SmokeFree.gov to sign up for 24/7 text message support for quitting tobacco.
- Download the Quit and Save App to your smartphone for additional help with quitting tobacco.
Additional Resources and Ways to Be Tobacco-Free
- Find out more about the tobacco industry’s dirty secrets and how to build a resolve to quit and stay quit. This includes games, videos and other fun youth-focused resources encouraging tobacco-free living: TheTruth.com.
- Don’t let tobacco control you. Learn about the Real Cost of tobacco here: TheRealCost.BeTobaccoFree.hhs.gov/.
- Get help to quit by using Colorado’s web-based resources at: TobaccoFreeCO.org.
- Quit chew, dip or other forms of smokeless tobacco by visiting: MyLastDip.com and ChewFree.com.
- Find helpful fact sheets and information on Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.
- For information on the health impacts of tobacco, tobacco industry tricks, what’s in smoke and more, visit: TobaccoIsNasty.com.
- Learn the truth about electronic smoking devices here: TobaccoFreeJeffco.com/Vaporizers/.
- Play the Zombie Smokeout Game for a fun way to keep your hands busy until the urge to smoke or use other forms of tobacco passes.
Tobacco Prevention Media Campaigns in Jeffco
You Can Help Jeffco Be Tobacco-Free!
The BE Team and Tobacco-Free Jeffco Alliance both welcome new members at any time throughout the year.
Check out this website to learn more about the harms of tobacco and ways to reduce the toll of tobacco in your community.
If you don’t use tobacco, don’t start! If you do use tobacco, find resources and support to help you quit.
1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Preventing Tobacco Use Among Youth and Young Adults: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2012 [accessed 2015 May 20].
2. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Smoking—50 Years of Progress: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2014 [accessed 2015 May 20].
3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Chemicals in Tobacco Smoke: www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/sgr/2010/consumer_booklet/chemicals_smoke/.
4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Tobacco Industry Marketing: www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/tobacco_industry/marketing/.