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.
Despite all that we know about the dangers of smoking the tobacco industry is still a huge and profitable business. And to sustain that business tobacco companies spend billions to put their products in front of kids in stores. After all, the more kids see tobacco, the more likely they are to start smoking. And these tactics are effective – shockingly the average age of a new smoker in New York State is 13 years old!
The “Seen Enough Tobacco” Campaign
To help address these issues, Tobacco Free New York State has launched the “Seen Enough Tobacco” initiative to protect kids from being exposed to tobacco products in stores. This is a cause that resonates with me and my family. My paternal grandfather was a lifelong smoker who died of lung cancer. My dad was a lifelong smoker who finally quit when his father died. But by then damage was done, and my father passed away from bladder cancer, another type of cancer for which smoking is the largest risk factor. It is important that we do what we can to help protect our kids from ever starting to use tobacco products.
I have raised three kids here in New York, and all three are now teens and young adults who have thankfully chosen to stay tobacco free. As children grow up they have to make their own decisions and choices, but luckily as parents there are things we can do to encourage them to make the choices that will keep them healthy and happy for the long term. Here are some tips that have been helpful for my family.
Tips to Keep Your Kids Tobacco Free
- Talk to your children – Communicating with your children about the dangers of tobacco should start early. Start when your children are 5 or 6, and keep the conversation going. Don’t assume that schools will take care of the subject. You can naturally bring up the subject when you see things like “No Smoking” signs or discarded cigarette butts.
- Be frank about the consequences – It is important that children understand that cigarettes cause serious diseases like cancer. But don’t neglect to talk about the more immediate consequences too. Smoking causes yellowing teeth, bad breath and smelly clothes. Those kinds social issues can be easier for kids to understand and relate to than a disease years in the future.
- Emphasize all aspects of healthy living – Children who value fitness, sports, and outdoor activities are less likely to be attracted to smoking. Keep your family busy with all the adventures and attractions that New York state offers. Kayaking on the rivers, hiking in the mountains and biking on canal paths promote family togetherness and a healthy lifestyle.
- Teach them how to resist peer pressure – Don’t underestimate the attraction smoking can have for kids. Talk to them about situations in which they might be offered cigarettes or chewing tobacco or e-cigarettes and discuss responses that will diffuse the situation.
- Set a good example – Your behavior is key! If you use tobacco get help and quit so your children can learn from your actions. If you are already tobacco free then becoming involved in community action like the “Seen Enough Tobacco” petition is a great way to show your kids how important the issue is to you.
The goal of the “Seen Enough Tobacco” campaign is to get tobacco out of sight in New York stores. Our kids have seen enough, so sign the petition to let big tobacco know we are sick and tired of our children being exposed to tobacco products and ads.