Month: May 2012

Research Behind the RAAPS Questions (Question #10)

RAAPS Question #10 

Teen drivers are already at an increased risk of collisions. When they drink alcohol, use other drugs, or text and drive, teens endanger their own lives and the lives of other passengers on the road. Each year, thousands of teens are killed or permanently disabled because of motor vehicle accidents (MVA).  MVAs are the greatest causes of death and serious injury in teens.  Approximately 28% of adolescents ages 15-20 years who were killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2005 had been drinking. High school students are more likely to drink, smoke cigarettes, and smoke marijuana in the month immediately after earning their driver’s license.

What can you do to save teen’s lives:
1) Know the statistics and use a screening tool to open the door to discussions with teens about their risky behaviors

2) Talk with teens about their driving behaviors and give them options for being safer:

  • Put your phone in your glove box or back seat while driving
  • Turn your phone off while driving
  • Wait until you are parked to use your phone
  • Ask a friend riding with you to text for you
  • If you need to text, pull into a parking lot or drive, park and then text

Never drive a car after using even a small amount of drugs or alcohol and avoid riding with someone who has.

  • Before you go out for the night, decide who is going to be the designated driver
  • Identify an adult you can call for a ride if you find yourself in a situation that is unsafe
  • Offer to drive if you are sober
  • Find a ride from someone else
  • Call a taxi cab
  • Make plans to stay the night wherever you are going

Research Behind the RAAPS Questions (Question #9)

RAAPS Question #9  Smoking

The number of American youth who smoke has been decreasing over the last two decades. However, rates of cigarette smoking among older teens is still very high, often higher than adults. Every day, approximately 4,000 American youth ages 12-17 try their first cigarette, and an estimated 1,140 become daily cigarette smokers.  According to the Centers for Disease Control, as many as 20% of high school students report current cigarette use, 14% report current cigar use, and 8% report smokeless tobacco use. 17.8% of youth ages 11-21 and 25.7% of high school aged youth (15-18 years) completing the RAAPS screening tool reported tobacco use in the last 3 months.

The younger people begin smoking cigarettes, the more likely they are to become addicted to nicotine.  Among high school students who are current smokers, 50% have tried to quit smoking cigarettes in the past 12 months. Young people who try to quit suffer the same nicotine withdrawal symptoms as adults who try to quit.  Some ideas you can use to help teens quit:

  • Throw away all tobacco products and wash your clothes to get rid of the smell
  • Avoid things or situations that will make you want to smoke
  • Substitute sugar free gum, a mint, or toothpick for your cigarette or tobacco
  • Wear a loose rubber band around your wrist. When you want a cigarette or other tobacco snap the rubber band