Summer is a time when most people’s schedules are packed with holidays, sports, and cookouts. While most people enjoy smoked meat at a summer get together, those same people likely wouldn’t want exposure to secondhand smoke from cigarettes or electronic smoking devices at any of the events they attend.

Exposure to chemicals found in cigarette smoke can be harmful to both the user and to those around them. Those who smoke are at a greater risk for developing cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and experiencing reproductive issues. Exposure to secondhand smoke has been known to cause numerous health problems in both infants and children. These health problems may include an increase in the number of asthma attacks, respiratory and ear infections, as well as sudden infant death syndrome.

Exposure to secondhand smoke isn’t just risky during childhood, the risks associated with secondhand exposure carries on throughout adulthood. Adults are at an increased risk of experiencing cardiovascular disease, lung cancer, and reproductive effects in women among numerous other known issues. Many times, the risks of developing these issues can be reversed if a user decides to stop, or if those exposed to secondhand smoke no longer have exposure to the smoke.

Cessation of tobacco and nicotine products can be difficult and often can take more than one attempt before being successful. With the right support, it can be even easier. Adults in Iowa can receive free support and supplies for cessation through Quitline Iowa and adolescents can receive free, confidential support through My Life My Quit. Receiving help doesn’t have to be difficult, as you can self-refer to the program and receive assistance. Referrals to Quitline Iowa may also be made during a visit with your primary care physician.

For more information about tobacco and substance use prevention call ASAC at (319) 390-4611 or email us at prevention@asac.us.

For more information on youth and adult tobacco cessation visit https://iowa.quitlogix.org/en-US/. For more information on My Life My Quit visit https://ia.mylifemyquit.org/index or text “Start My Quit” to 36072.

Olivia Regenwether, Area Substance Abuse Council prevention specialist

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