Celebrate Mother's Day by Being an Influential Role Model
ANCHORAGE, ALASKA—Mother’s Day is a great time for moms to remember the important role they play in influencing the choices their kids make regarding tobacco use. Unfortunately, tobacco use among women remains a serious problem: According to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids more than 45,000 Alaska women currently smoke, and an estimated 100 Alaska women die every year from smoking.
Moms who smoke can celebrate Mother’s Day by quitting, and all moms, whether or not they smoke, can celebrate Mother’s Day by taking a number of effective actions to protect their kids from becoming a smoker. Just by modeling non-smoking behavior is often the most impactful way to do this. What moms say, how they act, and the values they communicate through their words and deeds have an enormous influence on whether or not their kids smoke. And all moms, smokers and nonsmokers alike, can also do a lot to protect their kids from secondhand smoke.
As a parent, you are one of the most important persons in a child’s life, especially when it comes to tobacco. You can make a big difference in the choices your kids make.
· If you smoke, quit. If you can’t quit, keep trying. Children from families who smoke are twice as likely to become smokers themselves – but parents who try to quit and talk to their kids about how addictive smoking is, why they want to quit, and how important it is to never start, can beat those odds. Call Alaska’s Tobacco Quit Line at 1-800-QUITNOW for free help quitting the habit for good.
· Maintain a totally smoke-free home and car, (even if you smoke).
· Educate your child about the dangers of cigarette smoking.
§ Talk about addiction and how hard it is to quit.
§ Emphasize the immediate health effects.
§ Emphasize the effects of smoking on physical appearance.
§ Talk to your kids about how tobacco companies target them by trying to make tobacco use seem cool so they can addict them as customers for life.
· Listen to what your child says about smoking and praise your child when he/she makes good choices.
· Ask your child about his/her friends and their attitudes toward smoking. Discuss peer pressure and how to deal with it effectively.
· Clear up any misunderstandings your child might have about smoking. For example: Everybody is not doing it, getting hooked can happen very quickly, and quitting is very difficult.
· Make sure your kids’ schools have strong and well-enforced no-smoking rules for kids and staff.
· Support federal, state, and local tobacco-prevention efforts like higher tobacco taxes, funding for tobacco prevention programs, and smoke-free laws.
Free help is available for Alaska adults by calling Alaska’s Tobacco Quit Line at 1-800-QUIT-NOW or visiting Alaskaquitline.com. Alaska’s Tobacco Quit Line offers free coaching, nicotine replacement therapies and/or cessation counseling.