PARENTS — Help Keep Your Kids Tobacco-Free

In Uncategorized on December 23, 2008 at 10:45 am

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. It could be the best Christmas present you give your children to talk to them about the dangers of tobacco.

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. Dicuss with kids the false glamorization of tobacco on billboards, and other media, such as movies, TV and magazines.


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