Smoke Signals

Sending Smoke Signals!
By: David Perdew
Okay, I admit it.

I’m a radical anti-smoker. When Atlanta, GA, passed a ban on smoking in public places in 2005, I cheered. I’m one of those guys who will leave a restaurant rather than take a seat in the smoking section.

A law to ban smoking in public places could save more lives more quickly than the development of a single new anti-cancer drug – according to the charitable group Cancer Research UK.

The organization’s Chief Executive argues that the single most important contribution to tackling cancer in the next decade is legislation to stub out smoking in the country’s pubs, restaurants and other enclosed workplaces.

I even believe that smokers should pay higher health insurance rates – plus more because they create second-hand smoke which has proven to be just bad as putting a cigarette in your own lips.

And then, there’s the whole moral issue of tobacco companies advertising to minors to knowingly encourage addiction to nicotine! But I won’t go there. In fact, I’m done talking about government intervention, tobacco company morality and health insurance premiums.

All this is important, but there’s a vital piece of the puzzle missing. In this 5-part eCourse, we’ll focus on that missing ingredient – it’s the piece we each have within our total control.

Smoking is a sign of something seriously wrong in the family. According to the Centers for Disease Control, factors associated with smoking (and there are many listed in the Teen Smoking report you downloaded) include:

Use and approval of tobacco use by peers or siblings
Lack of parental support or involvement
Lower self-image or self-esteem
Lack of self-efficacy to refuse offers of tobacco
Smoking is a cry for help. Kids just want to be loved and accepted. Belonging to a group – whether it’s chess club, gangs, church choirs or teen smokers – is just another way of being accepted.

How we raise our children affects their ability to choose the kinds of groups they join. If we shower them with love and acceptance while building a sense of power and autonomy, we’re arming them with the ability to resist self-destructive options and make self-affirming choices.

Over the next few days, we’ll look at ways to improve your child’s chances to remain smoke free long before he’s offered a cigarette. If he already smokes, we’ll examine ways that YOU can help him quit.

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