This information is available from PAD’s Parent & Community Handbook, 7th edition.

There has been a decline in smoking among Canadians – both adults and youth. Smoking rates among students are the lowest on record. Nonetheless, tobacco is the fifth most commonly used drug among students.  Tobacco use includes cigarette smoking and smokeless (chewing) tobacco.  Since there is strong evidence that smoking tobacco is related to more than two dozen diseases, rates of cigarette smoking  – and exposure to second hand smoke – continue to be a source of concern. Tobacco smoke contains over 4,000 chemicals, and more than 70 of these are linked to cancer.  The nicotine in tobacco is largely responsible for the short-term effects of smoking and its addictive nature. The long-term effects are associated with the tar and other poisons such as cyanide, formaldehyde, arsenic and carbon monoxide.


Effects of Smoking Tobacco:

  • the person’s pulse rate and blood pressure will rise and the person’s skin will become cooler
  • the amount of acid in the stomach will increase and the amount of urine produced will decrease
  • at first, activity in the person’s brain and nervous system will speed up, then it slows down
  • the person’s appetite decreases
  • the person will be less capable of vigorous physical activity
  • with continued use the person’s blood vessels in the heart and brain will narrow or darken and the person will be short of breath and cough often


Effects of Second Hand Smoke:

  • two-thirds of the smoke from a cigarette enters the air around the smoker
  • can aggravate allergies, asthma, eye, nose and throat irritations, headaches, dizziness, nausea, coughing and wheezing
  • children absorb higher amounts of smoke than adults and are more likely to suffer respiratory illnesses and infections


Tobacco and Disease

  • Smoking is the most important preventable cause of lung cancer; it accounts for 85% of all new lung cancer cases
  • Smoking is linked to cancers of the lung, mouth, larynx, esophagus, bladder, kidney and pancreas
  • Smoking greatly increases the risk of heart attack and stroke.


Women and Smoking

  • Smoking among women is linked to lower fertility, cancer of the cervix and osteoporosis.
  • Pregnant women who smoke have higher rates of miscarriage, complications in pregnancy and delivery, stillborn babies, low birth weight babies, and babies who die of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
  • Women who smoke are even more likely than men to die of lung cancer
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