Tobacco Initiative

CISD Tobacco Policy

The use of possession of tobacco products, including but not limited to cigarettes, e-cigarettes, cigars, pipes, snuff, or chewing tobacco, is prohibited in school buildings or on school property. For information regarding these misbehaviors, refer to the Castleberry ISD Student Handbook Code of Conduct (p. 102). Information regarding current Texas law about possession of cigarettes, e-cigarettes, or tobacco products by a minor is described in Section 161.252 of the Texas Health and Safety Code.

A Drug Trend

As we all know our community is not immune to drugs. Every city and school district in Texas has drug issues some more than others. Often when a person hear the word "drugs,"  Cocaine, Heroin or Marijuana  come to mind. However, there is a drug that is viciously killing our adults and youth in an alarming rate. This drug kills 1,200 people each and every day.

Every day more than 4,000 kids try this drug and another 2,000 kids become addicted to this drug, because of this one third of them will die prematurely as a result. By now you may be asking yourself what drug is this, or you may have already guessed that this drug is tobacco.

  • An estimated, 20.8% of all adults that is (45.3 million people) smoke cigarettes in the United States. Cigarette smoking estimates by age are as follows: 18-24 years (23.9%, 25-44 years (23.5%), 45-64 years (21.8%), and 65 years or older (10.2%)

  • Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States. Cigarette smoking causes an estimated 438,000 deaths, or about 1 of every 5 deaths, each year. This estimate includes approximately 38,000 deaths from secondhand smoke exposure.

  • Cigarette smoking kills an estimated 259,500 men and 178,000 women in the United States each year.

  • More deaths are caused each year by tobacco use than by all deaths from human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), illegal drug use, alcohol use, motor vehicle injuries, suicides, and murders combined.

  • On average, adults who smoke cigarettes die 14 years earlier than nonsmokers.

  • Based on current cigarette smoking patterns, an estimated 25 million Americans who are alive today will die prematurely from smoking-related illnesses, including 5 million people younger than 18.

Tobacco is a Gateway Drug and is probably the first drug that our youth are going to try because of the ease of availability. It can be found readily in many of our homes, cars and offices. Our children have access to these places, they can have someone buy it for them, and even though they are not of age, they can buy it themselves. Most of the time we do not see tobacco as a drug because it is a legal drug, but looking at all of the statistics, we know that tobacco is a monster of a problem and we need to focus on our youth and the smoking of tobacco.

Tobacco as a "Gateway" Drug

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has stated, "the experience of smoking can teach youngsters to use a psychoactive drug to influence mood and alertness, as nicotine does, and then reinforce that behavior. Smoking cigarettes prepares young people for the relevant mode of ingestion for one of the next drugs in the sequence - namely marijuana."

NIDA points out that drawing a foreign substance into the lungs is not a normal behavior for humans or other animals - it is a behavior which has to be learned and rewarded enough to overcome the aversive experiences which usually result."  Generally smoking cigarettes are the first peer-shared drug experience, or first illicit drug experience, similar to using Marijuana as it is usually hidden and outside most family and general societal acceptance standards.

 Smoking cigarettes can facilitate later drug use by teaching how to deeply inhale and hold smoke in the lungs  As a smoked drug, cigarettes initiate teens into the sensation of inhaling a drug and desensitize them to the feeling of smoke entering their lungs - A skill used for smoking marijuana, hashish, or free-basing crack cocaine.

Here are 6 major points to consider.

  1. Tobacco is generally the first drug used by young people who enter a sequence of drug use that can include tobacco, alcohol, marijuana, and harder drugs.

  2. Illegal drug use is rare among those who have never smoked and cigarette smoking is likely to precede the use of alcohol and illicit drugs.

  3. The amount of tobacco used is directly related to other drug use.

  4. Tobacco is officially recognized as an addictive drug.

  5. There is a dramatic association between smoking and illicit drug use.

  6. To allow tobacco use at schools, or at any teen function, is to sanction drug use

Tobacco is generally the first drug used by young people who enter a sequence of drug use that can include tobacco, alcohol, marijuana, and harder drugs. Illegal drug use is rare among those who have never smoked and cigarette smoking is likely to precede the use of alcohol and illicit drug. The tobacco companies discovered decades ago that if they removed the nicotine, the addictive element, people stopped buying the tobacco products. Tobacco is also a gateway drug for teenagers. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, a federal government agency, teens get hooked on tobacco by the time they are 12 to 14 years old. Adolescents who smoke are more likely to be involved in risky behaviors than teenagers who have never smoked.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse found that:

  • 95% of high school seniors who smoked, tried illicit drugs, while only 27% of non-smokers tried illicit drugs.

  • 94% of smoking seniors tried marijuana compared to 20% of non-smoking seniors;

  • 49% of smoking seniors tried cocaine, while 5% of non-smoking seniors tried it;

  • 18.4% of smoking seniors drank daily compared to 1.7% of non-smoking seniors; and

  • 67.9% of smoking seniors did some heavy drinking, while only 17.2% of non-smoking seniors did some heavy drinking.

According to former Surgeon General Jocelyn Elders

"What is notable about tobacco use is that it consistently occurs early in the sequence of problem behaviors. When a young person starts to smoke or use tobacco, it is a signal, an alarm that he or she may get involved in other risky behaviors. This is one of the few early warning signs we have in public health. If we can prevent tobacco use in the first place, we might have a big impact on preventing or delaying a host of other destructive behaviors among our young people."

Take A Stand At Home

Despite the impact of movies, music and TV, parents can be the GREATEST INFLUENCE in their child’s lives. Tobacco advertising is aimed at young people. In fact, 80% of all smokers became addicted by the age of 18. Here are some simple steps to take to keep your child tobacco-free.

Talk directly to your children about the risks of tobacco use; if friends or relatives died from tobacco–related illnesses, let them know.

If you use tobacco, you can still make a difference. Your best move, of course, is to try to quit. Meanwhile, don’t use tobacco in their presence, don’t offer it to them, and don’t leave it where they can easily get it.

Tell your children about the dangers associated with tobacco use as early as age 5 or 6 and continue through their high school years. Many young people start using tobacco by age 11 and become addicted.

Discuss with young people and children the false glamorization of tobacco in magazines, movies and television.