Quitting Smoking Can Be Best New Year's Resolution
Parents magazine and the American Legacy Foundation have teamed up to create Parents Quit for Good, a special quit plan for moms and dads powered by the foundation's cutting-edge online program, Become an EX. The free program launches just in time to help parents plan their New Year's resolutions to quit smoking.
This new collaboration will be featured in the February, March and April issues of Parents. Because smoking is undeniably one of the hardest addictions to break, it's important that parents know they aren't alone during the quitting process. Starting December 29, parents can visit ParentsQuitForGood.com , which offers moms and dads step-by-step assistance in identifying their own smoking triggers, advice on how to get through the day without cigarettes, and opportunities to connect with other parents trying to quit. Whether you smoke a pack a day or only light up occasionally, there's never been a better time to commit to quit.
"Parents is proud to partner with Legacy on this project," said Dana Points, Editor-in-Chief of the magazine. "An overwhelming number of kids are being exposed to secondhand smoke, and quitting is one of the best things a parent can do for the whole family's health. Our hope is this resource will help them pick a quit date and stick to it. Once they reach their quit date, the Web site provides a great place for them to share their daily challenges with other parents who are also trying to give up cigarettes."
Today's announcement coincides with the release of new research from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Julius B. Richmond Center for Excellence and Mississippi State University. The Social Climate Survey of Tobacco has been tracking trends in attitudes about smoking, secondhand smoke, and other tobacco-related social issues over the past eight years.
According to the survey, 42 percent of parents report that their child had been exposed to secondhand smoke anywhere in the past seven days (in public places, a car, or at home). The news is particularly worrisome for children of smokers: 63.4% of smoking parents reported that their child had been exposed to any secondhand smoke in the past week. When asked about exposure in their home and car specifically, 27% and 21% reported that their child had been exposed to secondhand smoke in their home and vehicle, respectively. Compare that to only 4.3% and 1% of nonsmoking parents, and one can see a clear disparity. The researchers say that while 75 percent of U.S households prohibit smoking in the home and car, 25 percent of American homes are still unprotected.
"Today's research reinforces the importance of providing quit smoking resources to parents," said Dr. Cheryl Healton, President and CEO of the American Legacy Foundation. "Their addiction directly impacts the health and future of their children and we hope that many parents will commit their time energy into this resource."
The effects of secondhand smoke are serious and should not be minimized. It is estimated that secondhand smoke exposure causes approximately 3,400 lung cancer deaths and 22,700-69,600 heart disease deaths annually among adult nonsmokers in the United States. Young children who are exposed to secondhand smoke are at a higher risk of developing asthma, ear infections, and cavities. Infants are at a higher risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).
The American Academy of Pediatrics is committed to helping eliminate tobacco and secondhand smoke from children's lives. "As pediatricians, we must help make tobacco use a thing of the past," said David Tayloe, MD, President of the AAP. "Parents Quit for Good will help make it easier for every clinician to help reach every tobacco user and to help parents quit smoking."
Secondhand smoke is one very important reason for parents to quit, but it is also important to note that kids whose parents smoke are twice as likely to light up themselves when they get older. No parent wants their child to grow up to be a smoker, so the campaign offers Ten Things Parents Can Do to Prevent Their Children From Smoking:
1. Be a role model. Let your kids know you're committed to quitting and need their support.
2. Designate your house as a smoke-free zone.
3. Keep trying to quit.
4. Don't smoke around your children, even in the car.
5. Educate your children to be savvy consumers of media.
6. Inform your children about the health risks associated with smoking.
7. Know your children's friends and whether smoking takes place in their social circle.
8. Listen carefully to your children and be a sounding board for them.
9. Build skills early on to keep your kids from smoking.
10. If they start to smoke, encourage them in their attempts to quit.