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Health & Lifestyle

The Deaf Community and Tobacco:

Monday, April 6, 2009
The Deaf Community and Tobacco
By Edward Richard” Walker III, 

In the tobacco industry it doesn’t matter who buys their products, just that their products are sold. These tobacco products are sold to people of all ages and all parts of society. Anyone from a middle school student to a seventy year old dying from emphysema buy these tobacco products. So why would the tobacco industry effect the deaf community any differently than the hearing community? Well there are actually a few reasons. To start the fact that someone can or can’t hear doesn’t effect whether you can become addicted to tobacco products. In actuality the deaf community can be more susceptible to becoming addicted. This is because all of he campaigns against the use of tobacco are directed towards the majority of society which is hearing people. So as a result the deaf community might see a commercial against drug use, but there isn’t any interpreter to sign what the commercial is saying. Another reason that the deaf community is more susceptible is because often times deaf children fall to peer pressure to try and fit in more with the majority of society. This is unfortunate but true. Sadly there isn’t much that has been done to bring the deaf community up to speed and help them overcome this obstacle. To start, the best way to prevent tobacco use is to keep people from using them altogether. This means educating the younger generation on what tobacco products do to you over time. For example using tobacco products will shorten your lifespan by 15 years (CDC). Also for every four-thousand high school students who try smoking about half of them continue smoking for the next five years or more (CDC). So what can be done to help the younger deaf generation and prevent them from using tobacco products? There should be more awareness about these statistics and a program should be made that is specifically for deaf students of all ages. Because the earlier you spread the message, the sooner these kids will become aware. Fortunately there has been a program made at the University of California Los Angeles that is specifically for the deaf community and the fight against tobacco and drug use. There is a video and pamphlets as well as handouts for kids to become aware of the situation with tobacco and drugs and to help them not succumb to the rest of society. Overall this is good for the deaf community but there should be more done to help prevent the use of tobacco and drugs in the deaf community. Everything that the hearing community has the deaf community should have as well. Commercials against tobacco use should have interpreters involved as well. There should be school programs that prevent kids from using tobacco and drugs. Parents should be involved and talk to their kids about the pressures of society and that they don’t have to give into peer pressure. Overall this is a good start for the fight against tobacco and drug use and it needs to keep going.


Berman, Barbera. (1999).Los Angeles, California. Retrieved 6, Apr. 2009:

Guthmann, Debra. (2009). “Hands Off Tobacco: A School-based Tobacco Control Programming for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Youth Retrieved 6, Apr. 2009:

CSD. (2009). Tobacco Information for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. Retrieved 6, Apr. 2009:

American Lung Association
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease through Education, Advocacy and Research. With the generous support of the public, we are "Fighting for Air."When you join the American Lung Association in the fight for healthy lungs and healthy air, you help save lives today and keep America healthy tomorrow.

American Lung Association in Hawaiihawaii2

The Break Free Alliance
The mission of Break Free Alliance is to reduce tobacco use among populations of low socioeconomic status (SES). Break Free Alliance is a program of the Health Education Council and is funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Office on Smoking and Health (OSH). What We Do: Collaborate with Partner organizations who serve low SES populations to:

  • Build their institutional capacity in tobacco control
  • Assist with tobacco control education, activities and policy development
  • Work with state tobacco programs, committees and regions/collaborate with other networks

Clear the Smoke.Org / Hawaii Tobacco Quitlinehawaii2
The Hawaii Tobacco Quitline is completely FREE and confidential. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. When you're ready, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (784-8669) or Click to Call for a call-back from a Quit Coach The Hawaii Tobacco Quitline is open 7 days a week, Monday through Sunday 3am-9pm. If you call at any other time, a registration specialist will take your information and have a Quit Coach call you back. When you call the Hawaii Tobacco Quitline, you will talk to a professionally trained Quit Coach. Our coaches are specially trained to help you quit on your terms.  Your Quit Coach will work with you to create a quit plan just for you. The Quit Coach will talk story with you to find out what's been helpful for you in the past and what hasn't. Once you’re ready to quit, your coach will arrange for follow up calls at your convenience and send you helpful materials so that you can stay on track between calls. You can also get help online or, if you prefer, your coach can help find face-to-face support in your area. Quit Coaches have helped thousands of smokers break the addiction. And they can help you too!

Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Hawaiihawaii2
The Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Hawai’i (Coalition) is the only independent organization in Hawai’i dedicated to reducing tobacco use through education, policy and advocacy.  Tobacco use is still the number one cause of preventable death and disability in Hawai’i and the nation and causes cancer, asthma and heart disease. In addition to the human toll, tobacco use is a huge weight on our economy costing Hawai’i half a Billion dollars annually in health care costs and lost productivity.  Our vision for Hawai’i is that one day, the death and disability from tobacco use or exposure is no longer a major public health concern. We are a community of people united by this shared vision to build a healthier Hawai’i for all to live, work, and play.

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