Enough is enough. If smoking rates do not drop, 69,000 Arkansas children will die prematurely. Stand up to Big Tobacco. You can start by talking with your child or teen about smoking and other tobacco use. The American Lung Association has provided you with the following tips:
- Even though smoking is glamorized in movies and television, remember that parents are the most important influence in their children’s lives.
- Tell your children honestly and directly that you don’t want them to smoke cigarettes. Give them clear, consistent messages about the risks of smoking.
- Start talking to your kids about smoking when they are five or six years old and continue through their high school years. Many kids start smoking at age 11 and some are addicted by age 14. Explain the health dangers, as well as the unpleasant physical aspects (such as bad breath, discolored teeth and nails), of smoking.
- Set a good example for your kids by not smoking. Parents who smoke are more likely to have children who smoke.
- If you’re a parent who smokes, the best thing you can do is to quit. Talk to your kids about how difficult it is to quit smoking and how much easier it would have been if you’d never started smoking in the first place. In the meantime, don’t smoke around your children and don’t ever let them have any of your cigarettes. For help to quit, call the Arkansas Tobacco Quitline: 1-800-QUIT-NOW.
- Establish a smoke-free policy in your home. Don’t allow anyone to smoke indoors at any time.
- Make sure that the events that your children attend are smoke-free.