Children are our Smoke Free Future

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 Visit the web site at
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If you smoke...

  • you will be twelve times more likely to die from lung cancer
  • you will be ten times more likely to die from some form of lung disease
  • you will be ten times more likely to die from cancer of the larynx
  • you will be six times more likely to die of heart disease
  • you will be twice as likely to die of a stroke

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