MercyOne Arlington Family Medicine supports tobacco education program at Starmont High School

posted 3/21/2019 in News

It’s estimated that nine out of ten people who begin smoking are under the age of 18, and that youth are the most targeted group of people for smoking. That’s why students at Starmont High School implemented an Iowa Students for Tobacco Education and Prevention (ISTEP) program their school this year.
ISTEP is a youth-led program in Iowa created by students concerned about their families being harmed by tobacco. The organization is supported by adults and is coordinated from the Iowa Department of Public Health Division of Tobacco Use Prevention and Control. ISTEP has three simple objectives: change social attitude about tobacco, raise awareness through education, and reverse tobacco-advertising purposes.
April Ehrler, a Family Certified Nurse Practitioner at MercyOne Arlington Family Medicine is the chapter advisor in Starmont and coordinates community events with the high school students. Several community projects take place each year, including Kick Butts Day, which was Wednesday, March 20, 2019. Other activities during the year include Red Ribbon Week in October, Great American Smokeout in November, and Through with Chew Week in February.
There are many problems linked to smoking that harm smokers and the people around them. Brain development is affected in youth because smoking constricts the blood vessels in the brain. Other health risks due to smoking include:
  • Cigarette smoking causes 20% of deaths in the United States each year.
  • There are more than 480,000 deaths annually from smoking and second-hand smoking.
  • It is estimated that 41,000 people die annually from second-hand smoking.
  • Pulmonary and cardiovascular functioning is negatively impacted.
  • 300 billion dollars is spent annually on health care from smoking-related illnesses.