This post was sponsored by Tobacco Free New York State as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central. All opinions expressed in my post are my own.
Here’s a scary stat — the average age of a new smoker in New York State is 13 years old. 13??? I have a 12-year-old son and you bet I want to make sure that he (and my other two kids) don’t smoke. I’m a daughter of a smoker and I know how harmful it is — my father had a heart attack when I was 19 (luckily he survived). While my kids won’t see me smoking, it’s also very scary that tobacco companies are spending billions of dollars to put their products in front of our kids in stores. Unfortunately, the more kids see tobacco, the more likely they are to start smoking. But there’s something you can do right now. You can use the 5 simple ways below to start the conversation about the dangers of smoking. 5 Simple Ways To Talk to Kids about the Dangers of Smoking
So, how can you stop your kids from ever starting to smoke?
1. Talk to Your Kids: It is important to talk to your about tobacco usage. Start at age 5 or 6 – and continue the conversation as they get older – the teen years are vulnerable as it is. Bring it up when you’re coming back from the soccer game, at the dinner table, or even when you’re waiting in line somewhere.
2. Discuss Consequences: Talk about how smoking can cause fatal diseases (cancer, heart disease, lung disease, emphysema and more) and have immediate effects like bad-smelling hair/clothing/breath and proneness to acne. You can also point out that smoking can negatively impact sports performance and athletic endurance. Personally, the health angle is the most important reason to me for not smoking. As I mentioned above, my father, who was a long-term smoker, had a heart attack from smoking when I was 19 years old (he was 52 years old). He’s very lucky he survived and it forced him to stop smoking.
3. Model Behavior: Don’t smoke. Don’t allow smoking in your house. Have a smoke-free policy for friends/family around your children. If you do smoke, go outside and don’t light up near your kids. You can also talk about it being a mistake to start and how hard it is to quit. It is an addiction and you don’t want them to be addicted.
4. Discuss How to Avoid Peer Pressure: As kids grow up, the pressure from friends at school to smoke will increase. Load them up with appropriate responses, should they find themselves in a situation where they are offered tobacco.For example:
“I don’t want my clothes to stink like smoke.”
“I’m trying to stay in shape for football.”
“I heard those make you sick.”
“I wouldn’t want to kiss a smoker – they would taste like an ashtray!
5. Talk about the different forms of tobacco and smoking. There are different types of smoking – they should know that vaping/electronic cigarettes aren’t healthy either and still use nicotine and other chemicals that are harmful to health. Even smokeless tobacco (“chew”) contains nearly 30 cancer-causing chemicals and is highly addictive.
While we can definitely help our kids to learn about the dangers of smoking by having open conversations with them, it’s not enough. Our kids have seen enough Tobacco ads. You can totally take action and protect kids from being exposed to tobacco products in stores – sign the “Seen Enough Tobacco” pledge today to make New York a healthier place to live, work and play!
Go here to sign the “Seen Enough Tobacco” Petition: http://goic.io/S1eqyJ
5 Simple Ways To Talk to Kids about the Dangers of Smoking
Find out more info:
Tobacco Free New York State Site: http://www.tobaccofreenys.org/
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Tobacco Free New York State Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/tobaccofreenys