The following is written by Dan Tarlin of .
Tarlin is a clinical social worker and Licensed Alcohol & Drug Counselor at Westwood Lodge Hospital, where he directs the Partial Hospital Programs for children, adolescents, and adults.
He has been working in the field for over twenty years and is a charter member of OASIS.
OASIS (Organizing Against Substances In Stoughton) partners with a diverse group of people and agencies that offer various support for: families, education in schools, policy development and after-school programs.
Good news came again in December 2011 regarding cigarette use by teenagers in America. Cigarette smoking continues to decline among adolescents.
The annual Monitoring the Future survey, funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, found that the percentage of teenagers smoking regularly has declined to under 12% among 8th, 10th, and 12th graders.
These numbers have been falling for a long time- peak tobacco use was in 1996, when 21% of 8th graders and 37% of 12th graders reported smoking at least occasionally. The survey shows that numbers of adolescents smoking every day has dropped even more noticeably.
Why does this matter for OASIS, which is focused on drug and alcohol abuse?
Teenagers who smoke cigarettes are much more likely to try illegal drugs.
A Johns Hopkins study showed young teenage smokers were 44 times more likely to use crack cocaine than were non-smokers. The same study showed that smokers across all age ranges were at least seven times more likely to use marijuana, cocaine, and heroin as non-smokers.
And of course everyone knows about the negative health effects of smoking cigarettes even without other drug use.
Many kids who smoke tobacco, like those who use illegal drugs, insist that “everyone does it.” These studies show that’s not true. OASIS will keep spreading the word.