What is your skin cancer risk?

What is your skin cancer risk?

Does it indicate that you are at high or very high risk? Do you feel you need to take action because of your risk level?

What should you do next? Enter the results of this lab in the Preprogram Assessment column in Appendix C. (1) If you’ve set a goal for the diet and cancer portion of the lab, select a target number of additional cancer fighters from the list to try over the next few days; list the foods below, along with your plan for incorporating them into your diet (as a side dish, as a snack, on a salad, as a substitute for another food, etc.).

Cancer fighter to try: Plan for trying: You cannot control all of your risk factors for skin cancer, but you can control your behavior with regard to sun exposure. Keep a journal to track your behavior on days when you are outdoors in the sun for a significant period of time. Compare your behavior with the recommendations for skin cancer prevention described in the chapter. Record information such as time of day, total duration of exposure, UV index for the day, clothing worn, type and amount of sunscreen used, frequency of sunscreen applications, and so on. From this record, identify ways to improve your behavior to lower your risk of skin cancer. Put together a behavior change plan.

Next, begin to put your strategies into action. After several weeks of a program to improve your diet or reduce your UV exposure, do this lab again and enter the results in the Postprogram Assessment column of Appendix C. How do the results compare?

What is your skin cancer risk? Photo Gallery

After reading this chapter, you should be able to:

Define and discuss the concepts of addictive behavior, substance misuse, and substance dependence.

List the major categories of psychoactive drugs and discuss how drug abuse can be prevented and treated.

Describe the short-term and long-term effects of alcohol use.

Identify strategies for drinking alcohol responsibly.

List the health hazards associated with tobacco use and exposure to environmental tobacco smoke.

Describe strategies that can help someone stop smoking.


1. Which of the following is the most widely used illegal drug among college students?

a. cocaine

b. hallucinogens

c. marijuana

d. heroin

2. If a man and a woman of the same weight drink the same amount of alcohol, the woman will become intoxicated more quickly than the man. True or false?

3. Every day in the United States, about 3,500 teens start smoking. True or false?

See answers on the next page.

The use of drugs for both medical and social purposes is widespread in America (Table 13.1). Many people believe that every problem has or should have a chemical solution. Advertisements, social pressures, and the human desire for quick solutions to life’s difficult problems all contribute to the prevailing attitude that drugs can ease all pain. Unfortunately, using drugs can and often does have negative consequences.

The most serious consequences are addiction and impairment of daily activities. The drugs most often associated with addiction and impairment are psychoactive drugs those that alter a person’s experiences or consciousness. In the short term, psychoactive drugs can cause intoxication, a state in which sometimes unpredictable physical and emotional changes occur. In the long term, recurrent drug use can have profound physical, emotional, and social effects.

This chapter examines the use of psychoactive drugs, including alcohol and tobacco, and explains their short- and long-term effects and their potential for abuse and addiction.

Drug Any chemical other than food intended to TERMS affect the structure or function of the body.

Psychoactive drug A drug that can alter a person’s state of mind or consciousness.

Intoxication The state of being mentally affected by a chemical (literally, a state of being poisoned).

Addictive behavior Any habit that has gotten out of control, resulting in a negative effect on one’s health.

Addiction Psychological or physical dependence on a substance or behavior, characterized by a compulsive desire and increasing need for the substance or behavior and by harm to the individual or society.

Dependence The result of physiological or psychological adaptation that occurs in response to frequent use of a substance (which includes behaviors such as gambling); typically associated with tolerance and withdrawal.

Substance misuse or abuse The use of any substance despite adverse social, psychological, or medical consequences; the use may be intermittent and with or without tolerance and physical dependence.

Tolerance Lowered sensitivity to a drug so that a given dose no longer exerts the usual effect and larger doses are needed.

Withdrawal Physical and psychological symptoms that follow the interrupted use of a drug on which a user is physically dependent; symptoms may be mild or life threatening.

Answers (Test Your Knowledge)

Marijuana ranks first, followed (in order) by hallucinogens, cocaine, and heroin. Alcohol, however, remains by far the most popular drug among college students.

Women usually have a higher percentage of body fat than men and a less active form of a stomach enzyme that breaks down alcohol. Both factors cause them to become intoxicated more quickly and to a greater degree.

Roughly 3,500 Americans under 18 and 3,000 over 18 start smoking every day.

The information provided is designed to help you make healthy, informed decisions about the role of drugs in your life. Before turning to specific types of substances, the following section examines addictive behavior in general.


Although addiction is most often associated with drug use, many experts now extend the concept of addiction to other areas. Addictive behaviors are habits that have gotten out of control, with resulting negative effects on a person’s health.

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