Research News Flash
Smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States. It harms nearly every organ of the body, causing many diseases such as stroke, heart disease, and cancer. Data shows that smoking is also associated with an overall decline in health including weaker bones, decline in cardiorespiratory fitness and muscle strength, tooth loss, cataracts, type 2 diabetes, inflammation, loss of fertility, and lowered immune function. Alarming data from the National College Health Assessment II revealed that the prevalence of smoking in college students with disabilities was 23.1% compared to 15% in those without disabilities. Students reporting mental disabilities had the highest rates (29.9%), followed by those with learning disabilities (23.7%), sensory disabilities (19.8%), and physical disabilities (16.4%). These data warrant further investigation and highlight the need for tailored smoking cessation programs for college-aged students with disabilities. Special attention is needed to ensure access to smoking cessation and other health promotion programs by addressing barriers such as the physical environment and transportation issues, by including materials in a format that best meet the needs of individuals with sensory or mental disabilities, and through education on the compounding effects of smoking on secondary disease and functional limitations associated with disability.
Jarrett, T. & Pignataro, R. (2013). Cigarette smoking among college students with disabilities: National College Health Assessment II, Fall 2008-Spring 2009. Disability and Health Journal, 6, 204-212.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/health_effects/effects_cig_smoking/#children