Youth Smoking Prevention Programs

The problem

  • Smoking among 8th and 10th graders has risen 50% since 1991. 
  • About 1/3 of high school students are current smokers (smoked at least one cigarette in the last 30 days). 
  • Although only 5% of daily smokers surveyed in high school said they would definitely be smoking five years later, close to 75% were actually smoking 7 to 9 years later. 
  • Each day, nearly 3000 American youngsters become regular smokers. Of these, 1,000 will die from early tobacco-related diseases. 
  • 82% of adults who ever smoked had their first cigarette by their 18th birthday. More than half became regular smokers by that time. 
  • Nationwide, 71% of high school students have tried smoking. 
  • Of 1,000 20-year-olds who continue to smoke, 6 will die prematurely from homicide, 12 from car accidents, and 500 from smoking.

The Reason

Kids Just Don’t Get It

On the surface, the above statement explains why kids are smoking at such an alarming rate. Here we have a product that is deadly—so deadly, in fact, it has been deemed the most preventable cause of premature death in the United States. Those who don’t die from smoking will often still be impaired or crippled by cigarettes. Not only is smoking deadly, it is expensive. Kids who take up smoking today will likely end up with a product that costs them tens of thousands of dollars over their lifetime. Still, kids are taking up smoking in record numbers today.

It is true that there are some kids who will not listen to any amount of reason no matter what you tell them. But this is not the majority of kids taking up smoking. It is not that kids lack the common sense to make a rational decision about smoking. Rather they don’t get the real information in a manner that helps them understand the magnitude of the danger and the power of the addiction. Without this understanding, they are not equipped with the ammunition to overcome peer pressure and tobacco promotion tactics by cigarette manufacturers.Kids need to understand the extent of control nicotine can have over them before they begin smoking. Give them the reason not to give into peer pressure and tobacco advertising influences. Give them the full unadulterated message of the deadly and addictive nature of nicotine. Give them a reason to say no, and they will likely do it. Make sure kids do get it, and you will see a turn around in current trends.

The Program

In a single seminar we provide the core information young people need to make informed decisions of whether or not they will ever smoke. Presentation can be tailored to levels 6th though 12th grade.Joel Spitzer’s vast experience in working first hand with thousands of smokers, his expert knowledge of the hazards of smoking, and his enthusiastic and motivational presentation style combine to make his presentations convincing and leave no room for doubt that taking up smoking is a mistake that should be avoided. 

In the hundreds of programs Joel Spitzer has done for school groups, his approach has been to show the students that smoking is an addiction, and that the experimentation that they are considering today can eventually cost them tens of thousands of dollars over their lifetime and, worse yet, eventually cost them their health and their lives.  He makes sure that they are well aware of the meaning of addiction and then leaves it up to each student to decide whether or not they really want to be lifelong smokers.   He does not tell them that they should not smoke or that they have to quit smoking or that they are bad if they smoke. Through slides, demonstrations and recounting of the personal experiences of many smokers he has worked with, Joel Spitzer makes a powerful case for each student to understand the serious nature of the decision that he or she is going to be making in the near future that may effect his or her health over his or her lifetime.

Topics of the prevention seminar include:

•Understanding the dangers of smoking
•Learn about nicotine as a drug and drug addiction in general
•How to stop smoking if they already started
•How to stay off smoking forever.

For historical purposes only. Joel Spitzer is no longer conducting live programs.

Past Program Locations