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Students from several Bismarck schools are planning activities to promote quitting smoking during this year’s Great American Smokeout, Nov. 15. The Smokeout is a national event held the third Thursday of November every year and is a day that encourages smokers to quit for one day in the hopes that they are inspired to quit forever.
Bismarck students are focusing their activities on educating about the effects of secondhand smoke and the importance of tobacco-free school policies. “I think it’s important for people to know that secondhand smoke is harmful no matter how old you are,” said Abby Weinberger, an eighth grade student from Simle Middle School. “Young or old, you can still be affected by the deadly chemicals in secondhand smoke.”
Secondhand smoke (SHS) is a mixture of smoke given off by the burning end of cigarettes, pipes, or cigars, and smoke exhaled from smokers, which can be involuntarily inhaled by nonsmokers. SHS contains more than 7,000 chemical compounds, 70 of which are known human carcinogens.
Children are especially vulnerable to the effects of secondhand smoke. Inhaling the toxins can cause children and infants to:• Develop asthma; or if they already have asthma, experience more severe and more frequent asthma attacks.• Suffer from ongoing respiratory ailments, such as pneumonia and bronchitis, as well as coughing and wheezing.• Have an increased risk of ear infections.• Die from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
“We have a great group of students in Bismarck that works hard to educate the community about the effects of tobacco,” said Sue Kahler, Community Outreach Coordinator with Bismarck-Burleigh Public Health Unit. “These kids learn about the harms of smoking and tobacco use and then pass that information on to their peers, friends, family and others in the hopes of inspiring change and providing a healthier life for themselves and the people they care about.”