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I AM in Iowa Adolescents Making Choices to Control Their Future Teen:Health, Relationship, Body and Sexuality

Tag: tobacco

Nov 6

E-cigarettes or a Magical Harry Potter Wand?: A Deeper Look

Posted By iamincontrol | November 6, 2014

On my morning homage to the local coffee house, I noticed a man standing outside on the street with a strange looking mythical pencil. At first glance, I thought this man was carrying a wand from Diagon Alley ready to cast a spell on anyone who mis-stepped. But rather than raising his wand as I neared, he put the thing to his mouth, inhaled, and let out a puff of fog. What the what?! I realized that this man was actually smoking with what I now know as an e-cigarette. I had to find out more about these half-wand/half-electronic cigarettes!

So, there is a cartridge that contains nicotine and long chemical names like, glycerin or polyethylene glycol. Both these chemicals can be found in anti-freeze, which belong in cars– not human bodies. Basically, something heats the liquid in the cartridge (often called “e-juice”) to its boiling point and that becomes vapor you can inhale. That is why smoking e-cigarettes is often called “vaping.” Remember the cheesy fog machine you had at your homecoming dance this fall? It’s the same principle.

Still, what are the effects of such wands on Muggles like us? After a deeper look, the companies that put these e-cigs out do not even tell people what’s in the e-juice. So basically that gives us about the same knowledge as ripping off the label of your mother’s favorite bathroom cleaner and saying it’s e-juice.  In addition, in the first big study of e-cigs, researchers found out that e-cigs do not help people quit smoking and that the vapor has harmful effects on your lungs. So after a deeper look, e-cigs are indeed  magical wands made to cast a spell on people to ensure addiction to their harmful effects.

Jun 3

New Tobacco Products

Posted By iamincontrol | June 3, 2014

By Garin

The results are in!  Last month’s poll question was:

Which form of tobacco is used the most in your school?

You guys said:

  • Traditional cigarettes (33%)
  • E-cigarettes (0%)
  • Chewing tobacco (33%)
  • Other (i.e. cigars, Orbs, etc.) (0%)
  • No one uses tobacco, it’s pot (33%)

Everyone knows that smoking is bad for you. Putting smoke in your body isn’t a good idea no matter what’s burning. Sucking (chewing) on tobacco isn’t a great idea either. If you’re between 14 and 25, you also know that “Big Tobacco” is a bunch of companies that make tobacco, and they are big fat liars. They’ve lied to people for like a billion years so that people would smoke/chew, get addicted, and then the companies would make money. So what is Big Tobacco doing now to make their money? Let’s find out.

First, they are still selling cigarettes and chew. They may say now that tobacco isn’t safe, but they aren’t removing all their “killer” products from the shelves (just go down to your local gas station if you don’t believe me). What they’re doing now is trying to get you addicted to their ‘new’ products so they can continue to take your money. Let’s look at a few examples and see where the truth lies. Then you can decide for yourself if jumping into using tobacco is really as great as Big Tobacco says it is.

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Mar 6

Who I Was and Who I am

Posted By iamincontrol | March 6, 2014

Teen girl
By Kallie

For many people, high school means trying to fit in and doing what other kids are doing to fit in.  In middle school I was overweight and because of that I was picked on.  I had friends, but I was not in the “popular group.” Before starting high school I lost all my extra weight and I was proud of myself.  I had a new look for myself and had more self-confidence.  All of a sudden I was in the popular group and now I was doing the bullying.  I felt like I had to do what my new friends were doing, so I could stay with the in crowd.

Before I knew it I was making decisions just to stay in the popular crowd that I know my mom and dad did not raise me to make.  I was drinking on a daily basis, and I even picked up smoking.  I lied to my parents and lost their trust.  When I started college I regularly skipped classes.  At this point in my life I had hit rock bottom.  My boyfriend of three years broke up with me, I failed classes, and my drinking led me to an OWI.  As a result of my OWI I lost my license and had to spend time in jail (possibly affecting my chance of getting a job in the future).   At this point I needed to assess my life and change the direction I was going.

I decided I needed to change my whole life and just focus on me.  I needed to figure out what was important in my life and strive to achieve things, like my schooling.  I focused all my attention on my studies and myself.  I joined a gym and worked out on a daily basis.  I quit drinking alcohol, along with pop.  The only places I usually went were school, the gym, and my house.  I once again lost a bunch of weight and had more self-confidence, along with a better overall feeling about myself.  Everyone will make mistakes in their life, but the important part is that you learn from the mistakes and better your future.  I have now graduated with my Dental Hygiene degree and am about to graduate with my bachelor’s degree.  Be the person you want to be and not the person someone else wants you to be just to fit in with the popular crowd.

Jan 7


Posted By iamincontrol | January 7, 2014

The results are in!  Last month we asked you:

Are e-cigarettes safe to use?

You said:

  • Yes, definitely. (25%)
  • No, they are addictive. (50%)
  • Not sure. (25%)

Answers are pretty across the board, so let’s get the facts.  Turns out e-cigarettes are not safe to use.  Despite that, did you know that in one year, the use of e-cigarettes (aka electronic cigarettes) has doubled in teens?  In 2012, 10% of high school students surveyed said they used e-cigarettes, compared to 4.7% in 2011.  Seriously, 1 in every 10 students is using e-cigarettes?  What gives?

Maybe it seems like they’re a safe alternative to regular cigarettes. E-cigarettes deliver nicotine to your system in vapor form instead of inhaling the smoke from tobacco.

So why aren’t e-cigarettes safe?

  1. Even though e-cigarettes are said to generally contain fewer toxins than traditional cigarettes, they are still delivering toxins into your system.  The amount of nicotine in e-cigarettes can be as much or higher than the amount of nicotine in regular cigarettes.  They are still addictive.
  2. Since they don’t contain tobacco, e-cigarettes are not regulated by the government.  That means that manufacturers can put whatever they want into the e-cigarettes – more or less nicotine, along with other chemicals.
  3. Read More
Jan 2

Hotline Round Up

Posted By iamincontrol | January 2, 2014

You never know when you’re going to need to talk to someone.  Today we’ve put together a list of some numbers you might find helpful when you’re going through something.

Teen Line 1-800-443-8336
You can call the Teen Line 24/7 to ask any questions you have about your health or a problem in your life.  They will answer your questions or connect you with someone who can.  You can also chat online with a counselor 8AM-8PM Monday through Friday.

Your Life Iowa1-855-581-8111
This 24-hour, confidential hotline is available to anyone who wants to find information about how to identify and deal with bullying or the topic of suicide. You can also text 85511 3-11PM everyday or chat online.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255)
This 24-hour, toll-free, confidential suicide prevention hotline is available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. Calls are routed to the nearest crisis center in a national network of more than 150 crisis centers.*

The Trevor Lifeline (for GBLTQ Youth)1-866-488-7386 (1-866-4-U-TREVOR)
Providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth.*

National Sexual Assault Hotline1-800-656-HOPE (1-800-656-4673)
Sponsored by the Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network (RAINN). Online Hotline is also available (click the link).*

National Runaway Hotline1-800-786-2929 (RUNAWAY)
24-hour crisis line. It’s anonymous, confidential and free.*

Love is Respect: National Dating Abuse Helpline1-866-331-9474 (TTY 1-866-331-8453)
24-hour help for teens and young adults. Peer advocates are trained to offer support, information and advocacy to those involved in dating abuse relationships as well as concerned parents, teachers, clergy, and others.*

CDC-INFO 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636) or TTY 1-888-232-6348
Formerly known as the CDC National STD and AIDS Hotline, counselors at this hotline sponsored by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now respond to questions about personal health issues, not just HIV and sexually transmitted infections. Available 24 hours a day, in English and Spanish.*

National STD (STI) Hotline1-800-227-8922
The hotline is available Monday through Friday, 9 am to 6 pm EST. The American Social Health Association website offers information about sexual health, healthy relationships, STIs, and more. Check out – a site developed for teens and their parents.*

Always reach out to someone when you have a problem or just feel like you need to talk.  You are in control of your life.

*Hotline description from

Nov 7

Above the Influence

Posted By iamincontrol | November 7, 2013

So you may have heard of this site,, but have you actually used it?

Here’s a preview of why we love it…

It’s not just about an adult telling you what to do (or not do).  Above the Influence is about other teens sharing their experiences with you and sharing why they choose to remain substance free.  Check out their YouTube channel to watch stories from other teens, like this one:

Read More

Sep 5

What the Hookah?

Posted By iamincontrol | September 5, 2013

By Bobbie Jo

Hookah? How do you even pronounce it? What is it? Hookahs (hook·ah) are water pipes used to smoke tobacco in a variety of flavors. Hookahs have been used in the Middle East for centuries, but have become very popular in the United States recently. There is a myth that it is safe to smoke hookah because a person uses a water pipe and the water “cleans” out the harmful chemicals. FALSE! A person smoking hookah is breathing in the same harmful chemicals as a cigarette smoker, but at a much greater rate because of the higher rate of toxins. In addition the charcoal used to heat tobacco in the hookah increases the health risks by producing high levels of carbon monoxide, metals, and cancer-causing chemicals.

Hookah smokers have the same health risks as cigarette users such as: oral cancer, lung cancer, stomach cancer, cancer of the esophagus, reduced lung function and decreased fertility. Also, because there is nicotine in hookah, there is the potential for addiction. The mouthpiece of the hookah pipe is shared between multiple users which increases the risk for herpes, influenza and other infectious diseases.

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Jan 3

Tobacco Use and High School Students

Posted By iamincontrol | January 3, 2013

Is tobacco use socially acceptable among high school students?

Here’s what one Iowa high school student thinks… 

“As a student in high school, I feel as if every recurring school year, tobacco use is becoming more popular (mostly in males). As a junior in high school I am taking Heath II, and recently we discussed in large about smoking and tobacco use. I have been involved with youth against tobacco since middle school, but I learned a lot I didn’t know already know during this Health II class. As I learned so many things I didn’t know, I became more “disgusted” and frightened with the idea of all the things that could be harmful to my classmates involved with tobacco. Going through these lessons in Health, I knew many friends in the class who were users of tobacco, and I thought to myself that this could finally be the key to getting through to those who used tobacco – showing them all the harmful things that could or was happening to them! (Especially from a teacher and not just a group of kids.) I soon learned that it was likely not working. They still thought it “wouldn’t happen to them” and that using tobacco was okay. In my mind set, if that didn’t get through to them what would?! How did using tobacco become so normal? And why is it acceptable for high school students?”

Does it feel like this at your school too?  Share this on your Facebook wall or Twitter feed and see what your friends think!

Jan 3

How to Quit Smoking

Posted By iamincontrol | January 3, 2013

By AlyssaHand chained to cigarettes

Quitting smoking is one of the hardest things you’ll ever do.  But if you do it, you will feel so much more free and healthy.  When you smoke, it’s an addiction, and that means you have less control over your actions.  Your brain tells you that you always need another cigarette or other form of tobacco.  You may have tried to quit before, and maybe it didn’t work.  Here are some reasons to try again.

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Dec 6

Don’t Let Smoking Dull Your Sparkle!

Posted By iamincontrol | December 6, 2012

Smiling teen
By Carlie

A sparkling smile is one of your best features, so don’t let smoking dull your pearly whites.

You may not have been taught about how smoking affects your health and your smile right away, so you might not have thought about it that much.  You’ve probably been told that smoking increases your chance for lung cancer, stroke, and emphysema in the long run.  But you should know, smoking is changing your appearance and health right now too.  Here are some of the things that are already happening.

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