This post was sponsored by Tobacco Free New York State as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.
I often speak to my kids about the importance of what they put in their bodies and how it impacts their health. We talk about why eating a healthy diet is essential, and how certain foods are necessary to properly fuel their bodies. Now that I have an almost 10-year-old, we also talk about what substances we shouldn’t place in their bodies and the impact smoking has on their health. My grandfather died from cigarette-related diseases. It started as throat cancer, and complications from his treatment caused diabetes. My only memory of him was with a trachea hole. I wasn’t more than 4 years old and I remember him so vividly. He loved me, and he always had something sweet stashed away just for me.
What scares me most is the messaging I see when I pass certain stores, or billboards my kids might see that promote smoking. They might already feel pressured to try smoking from acquaintances at school, but having it shoved in their faces with smoking campaigns doesn’t help. Did you know that the average age of a new smoker in New York is only 13 years old. My husband can confirm that because that’s when his older cousin taught him how to smoke. Speaking of my husband, who has since quit smoking, he’s seen a lot of changes recently. Being a high school teacher, he has students who are at the most risk for smoking. His students sneak e-cigarettes, or vapes, in the bathrooms and administration knows it happens but since there’s no smoke there’s nothing that can be done unless they are caught with the device in their hands. This is in line with the 160% increase of e-cigarette smokers from 2014-2018 on the high school level.
Kids will be kids, and kids are naturally curious. But we need to end the signage and ads that tell our kids that smoking isn’t as dangerous if you use e-cigarettes.
You can find out more about the Tobacco Free NYS initiative by checking out Tobacco Free NYS.