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Help Your Child Stop Smoking

by Sue Hubbard, M.D.

Today is the National Smoke Out where every smoker is supposed to put out his or her cigarettes for the day on the road to stop smoking. Why am I writing about this on a kid’s health Web site? Well, unfortunately teenage smoking is still an ever-present issue. There are still thousands of kids every day who begin smoking, as young as 11 or 12 years of age. Statistics show that 50% of high school teens will have smoked at some time in their life, and many of them will continue to smoke.

Smoking is glamorized in movies, in magazines and in ads appealing to kids. But you know, the consequences of smoking are never shown. Why don’t they show you the yellow teeth (all of the models have pretty white teeth, right)? They don’t talk about disgusting breath, or smelly clothes and hair and what about lung cancer and emphysema? The list is so long and the consequences of nicotine addiction are so great, but our kids don’t get that message. We in the media need to educate, not glamorize or fail to report consequences.

Second had smoke is also an issue. More and more data is being released about the effects of second hand smoke including promoting allergies, asthma, and even lung cancer. Who wants their children exposed to smoke as they walk out of malls, office buildings, restaurants and airports?

So, if you smoke, this is the day to set the example for your child and STOP SMOKING. If you have a teen who is smoking, sit down once again and talk to them about nicotine addiction, and the cumulative effects of smoking. Teens really do listen; you just have to tell them more than once or even twice…don’t give up.

That’s your daily dose, we’ll chat tomorrow.

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