Why I'm Honest With My Kids about The Dangers of Smoking and My Mission to Advance a Tobacco Free New York State is 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
I live my life pretty much an open book – which is Why I'm Honest With My Kids about The Dangers of Smoking and My Mission to Advance a Tobacco Free New York State . And in doing so- it is in direct contrast to my childhood upbringing. My mother, who I loved dearly, spent the bulk of her lifetime attempting to fit in with others, to garner their approval and to project a facade of a lifestyle that ultimately she couldn't afford. My mother's public mask never came off- even at home and I grew up I believing that she never made mistakes or poor judgment calls. As a result, I feared disappointing her with my own errors.
I want to be clear- I don't think my mother acted this way out of malice. She grew up in a different time- and I think she felt that she was leading us by example. Until the day she died my mother wouldn't walk out of her house without a full face of makeup, stockings and high heels, even for a day at the pool. I don't begrudge or blame her for who she was (thanks to the self-help section at Barnes and Noble and years of watching Oprah) but her parenting style most definitely influenced the way I parent MY kids.
And my parenting philosophy aka Why I'm Honest With My Kids about The Dangers of Smoking and My Mission to Advance a Tobacco Free New York State is all about transparency.
When it comes to smoking I am painfully honest with my kids about my past and about their family history and how smoking took the lives of their grandmother and great grandmother. I am honest about how each of them spent their final days of life literally gasping for air and crying out in agony as their lungs deteriorated.
Honest to the point where my kids look at me and say, “Okay ma, we got it we understand- that is enough information for us.”
Why I'm Honest With My Kids about The Dangers of Smoking and My Mission to Advance a Tobacco Free New York State is because I want my kids to learn through my missteps and mistakes.
I want them to know that I'm not perfect – so that they feel comfortable sharing their own lapses in judgment. I want to be honest with them so that they are honest with me.
Why I'm Honest With My Kids about The Dangers of Smoking and My Mission to Advance a Tobacco Free New York State
Of course some parents think my open book approach to parenting is wrong and that it encourages my kids to experiment with cigarettes. Perhaps, it would be better to just make blanket statements like; say no to cigarettes- cigarettes are bad, and if you take them I will be very angry with you. But I am not an all or nothing person and my kids know this about me- and I also know when you try to live your life in absolutes- you will ultimately fail miserably.
I can not believe it but I smoked in my early 20’s. Why did I do it? How could I have placed my health and not to mention looks on a costly harmful habit. I was lucky I met a man, my future husband, who convinced me to stop this and I have never looked back.
When I was 23 when I met my husband a physician who said he could not be with someone who smoked. I quit and have never looked back or had a cigarette again. My mother in law died of lung cancer at age 68 after having smoked for many years. Her mother before her also smoked and died from lung cancer but she was never able to stop.
I am so thankful that I met my husband who loved me from the beginning and urged me to stop. I am also so happy that my two children look down upon smoking as a terrible thing. This attitude makes me proud of them and glad that they would never touch a cigarette.
I smoked and stopped but I do not think I could tolerate my kids even looking at a cigarette or e-cigarette. Speaking of e-cigarettes it is a tragedy that this fad has increased so dramatically amongst our youth. From 2014-2018 e-cigarette use grew 160% among high school students.
I am happy to say that my kids look down on people who smoke. This negative attitude towards smokers has been encouraged by me and my husband and thankfully with not too much effort on our part.
Your kids might not be as lucky as I was to stop smoking before any serious health problem occurred. Keep them away from tobacco and e-cigarettes in all their forms and support the banning of tobacco advertising and displays in our stores. See the Tobacco Free New York State Site: http://www.tobaccofreenys.org/ and support this important cause. We all need to get together, get educated and keep our communities and workplaces safe.
I learned a lot working on this campaign and am saddened by the information they presented. The first is that the average age is 13 for a child to start smoking in NY State. This has a lot to do with product placement in stores that children are exposed to. Tobacco companies are spending billions on this product placement which can lure people and children to start smoking. Each year in NYS, 22,500 youth become new daily smokers and 31.6 million packs of cigarettes are bought or smoked by NYS children.
Smoking is harmful to not only the people that smoke but to anyone in their area receiving second hand smoke. Smoking causes lung cancer, emphysema, heart and vascular diseases and the last thing I want is for my children to start smoking or even be exposed to second hand smoke.
I think all parents need to stress the importance of avoiding tobacco and e-cigarettes to their children. I think paying for a product that causes so many health hazards is frankly ludicrous and parents need to stress this whenever they see advertisements or displays in our stores that sell cigarettes. It is important to start early because the average age of a new smoker is 13.
I am calling all parents to sign the pledge today to get cigarettes out of view of our youth and make sure none of our valuable children get hooked on this terrible habit. Here in New York State, tobacco companies spend more than a half a million dollars every day to place promotions in stores where kids can see them. And the more they see, the more likely they are to start smoking.
Check out the links to some videos that are dramatic but not that far from the truth about how tobacco advertising is still in our communities.
Our kids don’t need these colorful displays in stores. We have seen enough, go to the site above. Learn more about second hand smoke, entryway policies, outdoor tobacco free policies, smoke free media and other issues relating to smoking in our society here.
My family was negatively affected in such a significant way by smoking and I was lucky enough to stop. I will honestly never forget watching my mother in law being cared for in hospice during her final days desperately gasping for air, as she battled against the lung cancer that was ravaging her body.
It is time for all families to get the message that ALL cigarettes can kill and cause illness.