By Patricia A. Calico, DNS, RN
Actions speak louder than words. Do you actually believe this? If we, the people of Lincoln County, do believe that actions speak louder than words, then we have some actions to complete and others to initiate related to health promotion. Most people that I know in Lincoln County want the very best for their children and grandchildren in terms of education, lifestyle and success. They also want their children to be healthy and have excellent health care. In contrast, did you know that the major cause of disease and early death is prevalent among our teens? The Kentucky Institute Of Medicine/Foundation for Healthy Kentucky (KIOM/FHKY) County-by-County assessment results show that 30% of Lincoln County high school students smoke. The prevalence of smoking among Lincoln County youth exceeds both state (25%) and national (21%) averages for high school students (KIOM/FHKY, 2007).
Each year more than 8,000 Kentuckians die of tobacco related illnesses including lung cancer and cardiovascular disease. Other tobacco related conditions include increased risk for cataracts, infertility, osteoporosis, gingivitis, oral cancer, tooth decay and tooth loss. So the issue is not just about smoking, it is about all tobacco use, as the terrible impact of "spit" tobacco continues to grow.