By Jasmine Johaneson, Mairi Horth and Priya Sian
UBCO Nursing Students
As nursing students, we are eager to bring attention to National Non-Smoking Week 2015. We support the Canadian Cancer Society BC and Yukon in encouraging British Columbians to know the risks of flavoured tobacco in an effort to reduce BC’s smoking rate from 13% to 9%.
While BC has Canada’s lowest smoking rate, smoking is still the leading cause of death and disability in BC. It is the only legal product that kills one out of every two people when used directly as intended.
What is it going to take to bring our smoking rates down to single digits?
Be aware of the risk of flavoured tobacco products. Youth are especially susceptible to experiment with flavoured tobacco and almost half of BC’s youth smokers are using these products. These products carry the same health risks, and are just as addictive as regular tobacco. Additives reduce the harsh effects for youth who are experimenting with tobacco, making it easier for them to become addicted. Cancer shouldn’t be available in strawberry.
Increase tobacco taxes. Research shows when the price of tobacco increases, rates of smoking decrease. Increasing tobacco taxes can help bring down BC’s smoking rates.
Regulate e-cigarettes. As future health care professionals it is worrisome that the health effects of using e-cigarettes are unknown. Minimal research has been done in determining whether e-cigarettes are an effective or safe method in aiding people to quit smoking. Regulation is needed to prevent youth from using e-cigarettes and to help prevent the marketing of e-cigarettes from undermining advances in tobacco control.
Legislate smoke-free outdoor public places. Smoke-free parks, patios, and campuses support healthier communities and protect families from exposure. Make non-smoking the norm and create supportive environments for people who want to quit. No amount of second-hand smoke is safe.
As student nurses we think now is the time for the BC government to make a firm commitment to reduce smoking rates to single digits.