A Review, Driving Tobacco and Cancer Off The Map

Have you read the Geographic Health Equity Alliance’s latest Newspapers in Education supplement? Check out this young person’s review of The Road to Wellness: Driving Tobacco and Cancer off the Map below. If you would like more information about how to utilize this insert for your local newspaper or school system, contact Colleen Hopkins at chopkins@nohealthdisparities.org.

Review by youth fellow, Julian Taylor

After reading, “The Road to Wellness: Driving Tobacco and Cancer off the Map”, my immediate reaction was shock that tobacco use is still a significant issue today, despite all the progress that has been made.  The infographics really brought attention to all the different issues surrounding tobacco use. A good example is the Save Your Face graphic, which shows a man whose face appears to be deformed from the surgery due to his use of chewing tobacco.

Furthermore, the supplement is great because it has up-to-date information regarding all of the delivery systems for tobacco. Speaking from personal experience, tobacco has taken on new, deceptive forms that attempt to suggest that they are less harmful than traditional tobacco, but they are not. For example, in college, people often want to go to the hookah bar for Thirsty Thursday night because they are always open late. A lot of students have no idea that hookah smoke contains many of the same carcinogens as cigarettes, and all that tar too!  I have also seen people use hookah pens, e-cigarettes, and vaporizers to get their nicotine fix. All of these deceptive forms of smoking target younger people and this handout sheds light on these issues while educating about their dangers.

Most of us are well aware of the hazardous effects of smoking with the surgeon general warnings boldly stating adverse health effects on packaging and the release of the 2015 Surgeon General’s Report: The Health Consequences of Smoking – 50 Years of Progress, but this handout intensifies these warnings with pictures and hands-on activities. Seeing is definitely believing, and the pictures here shed light on the truth about smoking. I think this is beneficial for youth because when I was growing up I always found the most riveting photo to be the ‘lung comparison’ photo (non-smoking lungs versus a smoker’s lungs). The tarring of the lungs looked frightening enough to make me want to read more about the negative health effects of smoking, and never to start myself.

I am confident that this supplement is an awesome educational aid to help young people understand the dangerous effects of smoking, and hopefully deter them from ever starting to smoke. The young and fresh layout makes it relatable to younger generations, and the information about the health effects appeals to everyone. The reading is engaging and full of great information paired with descriptive photos. I highly recommend this as a read for anyone who wants to get informed with the latest information about tobacco, and its impact on the body.   As a SAMHSA Center for Substance Abuse Prevention Fellow working at Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA), the organization that manages the Geographic Health Equity Alliance, I see how these materials can benefit any local public health coalition trying to reduce tobacco use and cancer rates.  “The Road to Wellness” newspaper supplement is simply a great prevention tool.

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Author: Julian Taylor

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