A recent article “Winning the fight against teen smoking” written by Danny McGoldrick emphasized the positive role parents and teachers have in preventing kids from using tobacco.
Many kids still believe the myths of the tobacco industry, that once they start using tobacco they can quit using tobacco anytime they want. They don’t understand the addictive nature of nicotine, or realize that tobacco has immediate negative health effects on the body such as an increase in heart rate and blood pressure. But parents and schools can set good examples and help reduce the smoking rate among students.
Parents can set a good example by not using tobacco or smoking around their children. Exposure to secondhand smoke causes children to become sick more often. Ear infections, asthma attacks, and respitory infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia, are common in children exposed to smoke. Keep your home and car smoke-free and ask others not to smoke around your children. Protect your children from tobacco by giving them the facts. And share with them your personal feelings that tobacco has no place in their future.
Schools can also help students by setting tobacco-free policies in their districts and by teaching tobacco prevention. Making districts tobacco-free communicates the message that smoking and tobacco use is not the norm for students and adults and is not healthy behavior. Providing tobacco prevention education gives students knowledge about the tobacco industry, the health effects of tobacco on their lives, and equips students with the ability to resist peer pressure and tobacco marketing. This knowledge can be carried back to the home and shared with family members and other members of the community.
The School District of Palm Beach County and other districts across the state of Florida, have comprehensive tobacco-free policies in place for their schools. In Palm Beach County, banners have been placed at the entrances to schools announcing this new policy and prohibiting students, staff, parents and visitors from using tobacco on school property at any time.
Florida students can also gain knowledge about tobacco from teachers, coaches and guidance counselors who take the Statewide Tobacco Prevention course. This comprehensive online tobacco course for public and private K-12 educators helps prepare them to teach our students about the dangers of tobacco, how to resist peer pressure and tobacco marketing and how to recognize issues related to it. This course is at no cost to educators and provides up to 60 in-service credits as approved by your district. Go to our homepage at: tobaccopreventiontraining.org
When parents, teachers and schools work together, we can educate and protect all children from tobacco harm.
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