Big Tobacco is talking to our kids every day. In convenience stores, in magazines, online, and through special promotions designed to lure them into thinking that smoking is cool or a way to express their independence. Big Tobacco spends millions of dollars on slick marketing tactics to replace those customers who die from using their product or who have quit smoking.
Kids make ideal candidates for tobacco use. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), nearly one in four high school students smoked a cigarette in the past month, and nearly one in six high school students say they first smoked a cigarette before age 13.
Big Tobacco's real stronghold is among our young adult population. When college age youth and youth heading to the workplace are out on their own, it ushers in a new era of experimentation and life pressures. Big Tobacco's strategy is to plant seeds during the teen years in order to predispose youth to view tobacco as an adult behavior that "most everyone tries."
As a parent, you can influence your kid's decisions and make a difference. Despite the impact of movies, music, and TV, parents can be the greatest influence in their kids' lives. Many kids don't smoke or don't continue smoking after they try it simply because they don't want to disappoint their parents.
It's time to talk with your kid about smoking. It's not easy, but it's important that you do it today. Getting involved today will help you stay connected tomorrow.
Help us fulfill our mission of tobacco prevention. Find out more about programs for parents by viewing our Got A Minute? page.
You may not think so - maybe you think he or she is too young or too smart, plays sports, has no money to buy cigarettes, complains when you or others smoke, or has seen firsthand the effects of smoking when a family member got emphysema or died of lung cancer. But everyday, youth are getting hooked on tobacco and becoming addicted.
If you are exposing your kids to secondhand smoke, stop! A recent study showed that in households where both parents smoke, kids take in a nicotine equivalent of smoking 80 cigarettes a year. Secondhand smoke, a combination of the smoke in the air from a burning cigarette, cigar, or pipe and the smoke exhaled by a person who is smoking, poses a health threat to everyone who comes in contact with it.
Exposure to secondhand smoke is the third leading cause of preventable death in America, and youth are particularly vulnerable. Children who live with smokers are more likely to develop asthma, get colds, allergies, ear and eye infections, bronchitis and pneumonia, in additional to heart disease and cancer.
Be a good role model, and protect your family from the health risks of secondhand smoke. Learn how to protect your kids from secondhand smoke.