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The Children Are Our Smoke Free Future

March 5, 2012 in BottomPage

By Fred Kelley

As school gets back in full swing here in the U.S., it’s time to
focus on kids and their use of tobacco. While *you* may already
be a smoker, there’s plenty you can do to help keep your kids
from trying cigarettes. Most smokers start in their teenage
years, so early prevention is the key to giving children a
smoke-free life.

The following information comes from the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention (CDC).

Parents-Help Keep Your Kids Tobacco-Free

Know the Facts About Youth and Tobacco Use

** Kids who use tobacco may:

++ Cough and have asthma attacks more often and develop
respiratory problems leading to more sick days, more doctor
bills, and poorer athletic performance.
++ Be more likely to use alcohol and other drugs such as
cocaine and marijuana.
++ Become addicted to tobacco and find it extremely hard to
quit.

** Spit tobacco and cigars are not safe alternatives to
cigarettes; low-tar and additive-free cigarettes are not safe
either.
** Tobacco use is the single most preventable cause of death in
the United States causing heart disease, cancers, and strokes.

Take a Stand at Home-Early and Often

** Despite the impact of movies, music, and TV, parents can be
the GREATEST INFLUENCE in their kids’ lives.
** Talk directly to children about the risks of tobacco use; if
friends or relatives died from tobacco-related illnesses, let
your kids know.
** If you use tobacco, you can still make a difference. Your
best move, of course, is to try to quit. Meanwhile, don’t use
tobacco in your children’s presence, don’t offer it to them, and
don’t leave it where they can easily get it.
** Start the dialog about tobacco use at age 5 or 6 and continue
through their high school years. Many kids start using tobacco
by age 11, and many are addicted by age 14.
** Know if your kids’ friends use tobacco. Talk about ways to
refuse tobacco.
** Discuss with kids the false glamorization of tobacco on
billboards, and other media, such as movies, TV, and magazines.

Make a Difference in Your Community

** Vote with your pocketbook. Support businesses that don’t sell
tobacco to kids. Frequent restaurants and other places that are
tobacco-free.
** Be sure your schools and all school events (i.e. parties,
sporting events, etc.) are tobacco-free.
** Partner with your local tobacco prevention programs. Call
your local health department or your cancer, heart, or lung
association to learn how you can get involved.

Here’s another quick fact sheet from the CDC that can help to
influence kids:

What You(th) Should Know About Tobacco

Tobacco and Athletic Performance

** Don’t get trapped. Nicotine in cigarettes, cigars, and spit
tobacco is addictive.
** Nicotine narrows your blood vessels and puts added strain on
your heart.
** Smoking can wreck lungs and reduce oxygen available for
muscles used during sports.
** Smokers suffer shortness of breath (gasp!) almost 3 times
more often than nonsmokers.
** Smokers run slower and can’t run as far, affecting overall
athletic performance.
** Cigars and spit tobacco are NOT safe alternatives.

Tobacco and Personal Appearance

** Yuck! Tobacco smoke can make hair and clothes stink.
Tobacco stains teeth and causes bad breath.
** Short-term use of spit tobacco can cause cracked lips, white
spots, sores, and bleeding in the mouth.
** Surgery to remove oral cancers caused by tobacco use can lead
to serious changes in the face. Sean Marcee, a high school
star athlete who used spit tobacco, died of oral cancer when
he was 19 years old.

SO . . .

** Know the truth. Despite all the tobacco use on TV and in
movies, music videos, billboards and magazines—most teens,
adults, and athletes DON’T use tobacco.
** Make friends, develop athletic skills, control weight, be
independent, be cool….. play sports.
** Don’t waste (burn) money on tobacco. Spend it on CD’s,
clothes, computer games, and movies.

Get involved: make your team, school, and home tobacco-free;
teach others; join community efforts to prevent tobacco use.

Parents, get involved with your children’s lives! Help them to
avoid the mistake you made when you first starting smoking. Talk
openly and frankly about smoking and its effects. Share this
information with them and their friends so that your kids won’t
have to subscribe to The Quit Smoking Report too!

** Article © Copyright Fred Kelley of QuitSmoking.com. Visit the web site at http://www.quitsmoking.com
for great information and products designed to help you
quit smoking.

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