ASL University | Bookstore | Catalog | Dictionary | Lessons | Resources | Syllabi | Library

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:


Want to help support ASL University?  It's easy DONATE (Thanks!)
(You don't need a PayPal account. Just look for the credit card logos and click continue.)

Another way to help is to buy something from the ASLU "Bookstore."

Want even more ASL resources?  Visit the "ASL Training Center!"  (Subscription Extension of ASLU)   CHECK IT OUT >

Bandwidth slow?  Check out "" (a free mirror of less traffic, fast access)   VISIT >


You can learn sign language online at American Sign Language University
hosted by Dr. William Vicars