This post was 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.
Did you know that the average age of a new smoker in New York is 13? That is so sad. Beyond sad, it makes me angry because I think the way that tobacco products are marketed to kids is disgusting.
Tobacco companies are spending billions of dollars to put their products in front of our kids in stores. As a mother of 5, this horrifies me because, the more kids see tobacco products, the more likely they are to start smoking.
Next time you are out, check out the walls and rows of tobacco products that are enhanced with flashy or brightly colored signs and special sales. In-store advertising is big business in New York State.
If you have not noticed it, you can be almost sure your kids have. In fact, young people are twice as likely to recall tobacco advertising, and it makes them more likely to start smoking.
When you really take notice of how effective this in-store advertising is near schools and in low-income areas, you will see why they are doing it. This type of marketing puts these products right in the face of those most vulnerable to it.
When I think about how they are marketing these products, I am so glad that my husband and I have open conversations with our kids about the dangers of smoking. In fact, talking with our kids about smoking is one of the best ways we can reduce smoking in young people today.
Here are some tips that can help you talk to your kids about the dangers of smoking:
Be Honest About The Health Effects
This is not a time to sugar coat things for your child. In fact, I think you must be brutally honest. If you know of someone in your family that has died or has serious health effects as a result of smoking, let them know about that.
Talk with them about how addictive tobacco products are and how hard it can be to stop smoking. Talk about cancer, heart and lung disease, emphysema and more. Beyond that, make sure you discuss the immediate effects of smoking like stinky clothes, hair and breath. Let them know that smoking can make them more prone to acne and how negatively it can affect their athletic performance and endurance.
Set a Good Example.
In our house, it is easy, because my husband and I do not smoke. We don’t allow smoking in our house or around our kids. If you smoke, try your best to not light up in front of your kids. Talk to them about what a mistake it was to start smoking and just how hard it is to quit.
Prepare Your Kids to Deal with Peer Pressure
The pressure from your child’s friends at school is something that will likely be an issue as your kids get older. Arm them with appropriate responses to use if they are offered tobacco. You can even make it fun by role-playing situations with your child. Some good responses are:
Talk About the Way Tobacco Products Are Marketed
Have a frank discussion about the tactics behind the marketing. My kids get angry when we talk about how these companies are advertising to young people.
I have also signed the “Seen Enough Tobacco” petition to tell big tobacco our kids have seen enough. I hope you will too! You can sign the petition by clicking HERE. Let’s make sure these companies know that this type of marketing is not alright!
Let me know any tips you have for talking to your kids about smoking and the way tobacco companies are marketing to them.