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Keep Your Kids Tobacco-free
Facts About Tobacco Use
- Develop more respiratory problems
- Have more asthma attacks
- Get sick and go to the doctor more often
- Have poorer athletic performance
- Spit tobacco, cigars, and low-tar and additive-free cigarettes are not safe alternatives to regular cigarettes.
- Most teens, adults, and athletes do not use tobacco.
- Tobacco use is the most preventable cause of death in the United States. It causes heart disease, cancers, and strokes.
Take a Stand at Home—Early and Often
Talk About It
- Begin talking to your kids about tobacco use when they are five or six years old and continue right through high school. Children can start using tobacco and become addicted before they enter high school.
- Talk directly to your children about the risks of tobacco use. If friends or relatives died from tobacco-related illnesses, let your kids know.
- Tell your kids how you feel about tobacco use. Let them know that you would be disappointed if they used tobacco.
- Talk to your kids about the offensiveness of tobacco use: the smell, bad breath, yellowing of teeth, among others.
- Talk about the false glamorization of tobacco in the media.
- If your children ask why tobacco is legal, tell them that the rules do not always make sense. Explain to them that it is still a very deadly drug.
Be an Example
- If you use tobacco, you can still make a difference. Your best move, of course, is to try to quit. Meanwhile, do not use tobacco in your children’s presence. Tell them that you wish you did not use tobacco because it is a nasty, dirty, addictive habit. Do not offer tobacco to your children, and do not leave it where they can easily get it.
- Know if your kids’ friends use tobacco. Help your kids to come up with ways to say no to tobacco.
- Discourage your kids from buying items (eg, t-shirts, back packs) associated with cigarette companies.
- Do not waste money on tobacco. Use it for clothes, CDs, computer games, and movies.
Make a Difference in Your Community
- Vote with your pocketbook. Support businesses that do not sell tobacco to kids. Give your business to establishments that are tobacco-free.
- Be sure your schools and all school events are tobacco-free.
- Partner with your local tobacco prevention programs. Call your local health department and your cancer, heart, or lung association to learn how you can get involved.
- If your children are involved in sports, ask their coaches to talk to them about the effects of smoking on athletic performance.
American Academy of Pediatrics http://www.aap.org/
American Lung Association http://www.lung.org/
Canadian Cancer Society http://www.cancer.ca/
The Lung Association http://www.lung.ca/
Hanewinkel R, Isensee B, Sargent JD, et al. Cigarette Advertising and Teen Smoking Initiation. Pediatrics. 2011;127(2):e271-280.
Sargent JD, Tanksi S, Stoolmiller M. Influence of Motion Picture Rating on Adolescent Response to Movie Smoking. Pediatrics. 2012;130(2):228-236.
Preventing Tobacco Use Among Youth and Young Adults. A Report of the Surgeon General. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data%5Fstatistics/sgr/2012/consumer%5Fbooklet/pdfs/consumer.pdf. Accessed December 28, 2012.
Smoking. Kids Health website. Available at: http://kidshealth.org/teen/cancer%5Fcenter/q%5Fa/smoking.html#. Updated March 2010. Accessed December 28, 2012.
Stop Smoking. American Lung Association website. Available at: http://www.lung.org/stop-smoking/about-smoking/facts-figures/. Accessed December 28, 2012.
6/5/2009 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php : Dalton MA, Beach ML, Adachi-Mejia AM, et al. Early exposure to movie smoking predicts established smoking by older teens and young adults. Pediatrics. 2009;123(4):e551-558.
10/5/2009 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php : Kim MJ, Fleming CB, Catalano RF. Individual and social influences on progression to daily smoking during adolescence. Pediatrics. 2009 Aug 10. [Epub ahead of print]
- Reviewer: Brian Randall, MD
- Review Date: 12/2012
- Update Date: 12/28/2012