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Join the movement! You can play an active part in achieving the first tobacco-free generation by adopting a no-tobacco […]

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Unmask the Murderer of the Century! Register your group of teens for an activity meant to guess the identity of the murderer of the century and the weapon used to commit the crime.

What? Using hints and compelling staging, teens are invited to identify the murderer of the century and the traps that […]

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This is where you’ll find all the information you need on the hottest subjects in the fight against tobacco.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why were cigarettes invented?

Cigarettes, like cigars, pipes, shishas and so on, are just one of the ways people devised so they could inhale (breathe in) the smoke from a plant they called “tobacco”.

When the Europeans first discovered the plant in the 15th century – it was used by the Amerindians – they quickly realized they could make a lot of money with it, because the more people tried it, the more they wanted it! That’s when the tobacco trade first started.

As is always the case when there’s a lot of money at stake, some people will literally stop at nothing (=0 ethics) to keep producing and selling a product, even if it turns out to be dangerous or to cause disease, and even if it kills the people who use it.

Because the nicotine in tobacco causes addiction, the people who sell it become very rich, but the cost of their success is the health and even the lives of their consumers. In other ways, it’s a “cheap” and easy way to make money out of other people’s misfortunes …

Why doesn’t the Government ban cigarettes if they’re so bad for people’s health?

In Québec, in 2014, approximately 20 % of the population aged 15 or over were smokers. That means around 1.3 million people who were “addicted” to an over-the-counter product. All these cigarette addicts are “normal people”, just like you, your parents and your friends.

If the Government made cigarettes illegal tomorrow morning, or in six months’ time, or even next year, do you suppose all these people would be able to quit smoking just like that, and not want to start again? Imagine what would happen for the people who didn’t want, or weren’t able, to quit. That’s the problem the Government must face!

Maybe you think the Government benefits from the situation, with all the money it receives from tobacco taxes? Well, you’d be wrong: in 2002, in Québec, the direct and indirect cost of tobacco use was $4 billion, including $1 billion in direct health costs. In contrast, in 2006, the Government received less than $800 million in tobacco taxes. So smoking really isn’t profitable for the Government – or for any of us!

What the Government can do, with the help of different organizations, is to encourage teens not to start smoking, create conditions that limit the use of what is ultimately a useless poison, and help smokers to quit.

What ingredients are found in cigarettes?

Cigarettes are made of tobacco. Tobacco is a plant, and like all other plants, it’s composed of substances absorbed from the soil. If you burn it and breathe in the smoke, it’s bad for your health. The same applies to anything that’s burnt.

Cigarette smoke contains in excess of 4,000 different chemical components, including more than 50 that are known to cause cancer.

Might smoking cause delayed or reduced growth for teenage smokers?

The answer is “yes”.

A person’s growth potential is written into his or her genetic code. If humans are to achieve their full growth potential, they must do a number of things during their growth period:

• Provide their body with enough of the quality nutrients it needs; • Be physically active; • Give their body the rest it needs to become strong; • Avoid consuming products that interfere with the process of assimilating nutrients and processing oxygen.

Smoking has a particularly strong impact in the latter case, and this may explain the findings of a recent Québec study of teen smoking:

• A boy who smokes an average of 10 cigarettes per day for two and a half years between the age of 12 and 17 will grow 2.5 centimetres less than a boy with the same eating habits and level of physical activity who doesn’t smoke; • According to the same study, smoking doesn’t prevent teenage girls from putting on weight.

What can I do to help someone to quit?

You can help by doing the following: encouraging the person to take real action, listening or being available when the person encounters problems, encouraging the person to persevere, congratulating the person on the progress made, avoiding judgments. You could also encourage the person to consult the Quit section of this website for ideas.

Is it true that cigarettes can hinder erectile capacity?

Yes, mainly because of the impact of nicotine and carbon monoxide on the bloodstream (constricting the blood vessels) and the respiratory system (making less oxygen available to the organs). The consequence of this is less blood and less oxygen, which equals reduced erectile capacity.

Can you become addicted to cigarettes even if you only smoke occasionally?

Yes. Some teens become addicted to cigarettes after smoking just a few. There are even some of them that show signs of addiction after smoking their first cigarette completely!

Why is it so difficult to quit smoking?

Mainly because of the impact nicotine has on the human brain, and the large number of times (compared to other drugs) that smokers introduce the drug into their system. This creates a very strong addiction that is both physical and psychological in nature, and that becomes just as powerful as addiction to heroin or cocaine.

If someone smokes cigars on a regular basis, are the harmful effects for health the same as for cigarettes? Could it eventually cause the person to start smoking cigarettes?

Although it depends on the number of cigars smoked, and how they are smoked (i.e. whether or not the person inhales the smoke), the answer is “yes” in both cases.

Cigar smoke, like cigarette smoke, contains thousands of chemical components, in addition to nicotine. So inhaling cigar smoke and exposing yourself to the effects of nicotine is a great way to start smoking cigarettes.

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