CT Clearinghouse

Tobacco / Nicotine

Nicotine, the main drug in tobacco, is one of the most heavily used addictive drugs in the United States.

Research & Statistics

  • American Cancer Society - Statistics

    Includes data and statistics on cancer, including cancer related to tobacco use.

  • Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS)

    BRFSS tracks a variety of health risks in the United States. Users may search for data from interactive databases that provide prevalence data on health risks such as alcohol and tobacco use, and follow trends in behaviors such as binge drinking. Trends and Prevalence data are viewable by state or nationwide. Maps illustrate health risks at national, state and local levels.

  • Connecticut Youth Tobacco SurveyThe Youth Tobacco Survey was administered to a sample of middle and high school students. Students were asked about their use of different forms of tobacco, including: cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, cigars, pipes and bidis.
  • Data Reports by Topic - SAMHSA
  • Global Youth Tobacco Survey (GYTS) The World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention developed the Global Youth Tobacco Survey (GYTS) to track tobacco use among youth across countries using a common methodology and core questionnaire. Includes country reports, fact sheets, sample questionnaires, and links.
  • Information on Drugs and Alcohol (IDA)

    The Information about Drugs and Alcohol (IDA) collection provides access to over 100,000, bibliographic abstracts and full text articles and reports which focus on drugs, alcohol, and tobacco, as well as mental health, social marketing and health communication issues.

  • Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports (MMWRs)Includes tobacco-related reports.
  • PubMedPubMed comprises more than 20 million citations for biomedical literature from MEDLINE, life science journals, and online books. Citations may include links to full-text content from PubMed Central and publisher web sites.
  • Smoking and Tobacco Control Monographs

    The National Cancer Institute established the Smoking and Tobacco Control Monograph series in 1991 to provide ongoing and timely information about emerging public health issues in smoking and tobacco use control. Many of the monographs can also be viewed online in pdf format.

  • The Connecticut School Health Surveyhe Connecticut School Health Survey (CSHS) is comprised of the Youth Tobacco Component (YTC) (PDF) and the Youth Behavior Component (YBC) (PDF). These two school surveys have been co-administered since 2005. The YTC is a school-based survey of students in grades 6 - 12, with randomly chosen classrooms within selected schools, and is anonymous and confidential. The YBC is also a school-based survey of students, but only of high-school grades 9 - 12 and it, too, is anonymous and confidential.
  • The Smoking and Health Resource Library The database contains abstracts of articles from medical and professional journals; books and book chapters; dissertations; reports; conference proceedings and conference papers; government documents from federal, state, local, and foreign entities; fact sheets and policy documents from U.S. and international nonprofit organizations; and other documents.
  • The Tobacco Atlas - World Lung Foundation, American Cancer SocietyFull-color maps and graphics illustrate a wide range of tobacco issues, including: the history of tobacco, prevalence and consumption, youth tobacco uee, secondhand smoking, morbidity and mortality, and others.
  • The UM Nicotine Research Laboratory - Bibliography Links to peer reviewed papers, published abstracts, chapters in books, and books.
  • The Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS)

    The YRBSS monitors health risk behaviors in youth that contribute to leading causes of death, disability and social problems. Monitored behaviors include: tobacco use, diet, physical activity, alcohol and drug use, sexual behavior, and behaviors that contribute to unintentional injury or violence.

  • Tobacco and Technical Assistance Consortium (TTAC)TTAC is an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to assisting organizations in building and growing highly effective tobacco control programs.
  • Tobacco-Related Disparities - CDCProvides data on the following population groups: African Americans, American Indians/Alaska Natives, Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders/Native Hawaiians, Hispanics/Latinos, and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Persons.
  • Trends in Tobacco Use - American Lung AssociationLooks at morbidity, consumption, prevalence of tobacco use and cessation, tobacco advertising and promotion, state laws and secondhand smoke, and international smoking prevalence.

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Nicotine, the main drug in tobacco, is one of the most heavily used addictive drugs in the United States. In the 2002, 30 percent of the U.S. population 12 and older-71.5 million people-used tobacco at least once in the month prior to being interviewed. This figure includes:

  •  3.8 million young people age 12 to 17
  • 14 million people age 18 to 25
  • 53.7 million age 26 and older

In 1989, the U.S. Surgeon General issued a report that concluded that cigarettes and other forms of tobacco, such as cigars, pipe tobacco, and chewing tobacco, are addictive and that nicotine is the drug in tobacco that causes addiction. In addition, the report determined that smoking was a major cause of stroke and the third leading cause of death in the United States. Once hooked, nicotine addiction is extremely difficult to overcome.

Health Hazards

It's highly addictive. Nicotine is highly addictive and acts as both a stimulant and a sedative to the central nervous system. The ingestion of nicotine results in an almost immediate "kick" because it causes a discharge of epinephrine from the adrenal cortex. This stimulates the central nervous system, and other endocrine glands, which causes a sudden release of glucose. Stimulation is then followed by depression and fatigue, leading the abuser to seek more nicotine.

Smoking cigarettes and marijuana are closely related. Research shows that youth who smoke cigarettes are fourteen times more likely to try marijuana as those who don't.

Nicotine accumulates in the body. When smoked, nicotine is absorbed readily in the lungs, regardless of whether the tobacco smoke is from cigarettes, cigars, or pipes. Nicotine is also absorbed readily when tobacco is chewed. With regular use of tobacco, levels of nicotine accumulate in the body during the day and persist overnight thus exposing daily smokers to the effects of nicotine for 24 hours each day.

There are long-term hazards. In addition to nicotine, cigarette smoke is primarily composed of a dozen gases (mainly carbon monoxide) and tar. The tar in a cigarette, which varies from about 15 mg for a regular cigarette to 7 mg in a low-tar cigarette, exposes the user to a high expectancy rate of lung cancer, emphysema, and bronchial disorders. The carbon monoxide in the smoke increases the chance of cardiovascular diseases.

Second-hand smoke can cause illness.  The Environmental Protection Agency has concluded that secondhand smoke causes lung cancer in adults and greatly increases the risk of respiratory illnesses in children and sudden infant death.

Source: The National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign