Congratulate Dads Who Quit Smoking
One of the many things dads do is lead their families by example. This Father’s Day, take a moment to congratulate the dads who’ve quit smoking. Despite the highly addictive properties of nicotine, these dads succeeded in quitting, and in doing so, became role models for other smokers in their families and communities. Send an appreciative e-card to your dad who has quit smoking.
Help Dads Who Want to Quit Smoking
Other dads continue to struggle with addiction to tobacco. Nearly one in four men in the United States smoke cigarettes. But surveys indicate that more than 70% of smokers want to quit. This June, let dads who smoke know that they’ve taken great care of their families and that now you want them to do something important for themselves: quit smoking. Let them know that you are supportive. Smoking cessation treatment and social support obtained from family and friends improve cessation rates. Send a supportive e-card that encourages them to quit. And let them know of the tremendous health benefits they will experience after quitting (see 2010, 2006, and 2004 Surgeon General’s Reports).
Thank Dads Who Protect Their Children from Secondhand Smoke
Due in part to the vigilance of parents, many children are protected from the dangers of secondhand smoke. Many dads understand that tobacco smoke hurts children, and they take steps to keep their children safe. But not everyone knows that there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke and that tobacco smoke contains a deadly mix of more than 7,000 chemicals (including toxic substances like formaldehyde, arsenic, lead, carbon monoxide, hydrogen cyanide, ammonia, and butane). Not all parents know that, for children who have asthma, secondhand smoke can trigger an attack and that the attack could be severe enough to send a child to the hospital—or even be deadly.
Call to Action
Just because you can’t see tobacco smoke doesn’t mean the dangers are gone. Doing things like separating smokers from nonsmokers in a restaurant or ventilating buildings DOES NOT eliminate exposure to secondhand smoke. Secondhand smoke exposure causes sudden infant death syndrome, acute respiratory infections, bronchitis, pneumonia, ear infections, and more frequent and severe asthma attacks in children, yet millions of children continue to be exposed to secondhand smoke in the United States. In fact, about 54% of children (aged 3–11 years) and 47% of youth (aged 12–19 years) are exposed to secondhand smoke. Share the following tips with all dads to ensure that they are fully aware of the dangers of secondhand smoke and that they know how to protect their children from it.
- If you are a dad who smokes, quit now. It is the best thing you can do for your family. Children of parents who smoke are twice as likely to become smokers. Even if you have smoked for many years, you CAN quit. If you need help, go to www.smokefree.gov or call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669).
- Do not let people smoke around your children.
- Look for restaurants and other places that do not allow smoking, and let owners of businesses that are not smoke-free know that smoke bothers you and that a “no-smoking” section is not good enough.
- Make sure your children’s day care centers and schools are tobacco-free. A tobacco-free campus policy prohibits any tobacco use or advertising on school property by anyone at any time. This includes off-campus school events.
- Make your home and car completely smoke-free. Opening a window does not protect you or your children from secondhand smoke.
- Teach your children about the health risks of secondhand smoke.
For more information on the health consequences of smoking and exposure to tobacco smoke, as well as resources on how to quit, consult the following:
- Secondhand Smoke: What It Means to You
- How Tobacco Smoke Causes Disease: What It Means to You
- Vital Signs: Tobacco Use
- How to Quit Resources