Don’t Smoke. Really.

Don’t Smoke. Really.

The FDA issued a statement this week (June 20, 2011) that cigarettes packages and cigarette ads will have not only harsh warning labels, but will also have graphic photos demonstrating the nasty effects of this habit.

Some of the photos include a man who’s had his voice box removed (presumably as a result of a tobacco-related cancer) smoking a cigarette through the hole in his neck. Another shows a close-up of rotting teeth and gums. A heart-wrenching one shows a baby surrounded by smoke. You get the picture (if you haven’t already seen them).

Let’s hope this campaign works. Smoking is a really hard habit to break. Whether you have an ‘addictive’ personality or not, tobacco is an addicting drug, and it’s hard to stop this, or any addiction. But addictions must start somewhere.

A recent fad, that was, thankfully, short-lived, involved kids as young as 6 years old ‘learning’ how to smoke by smoking Smarties candies. They would crush the candies, still in their wrapper, inhale the candy dust, and blow out the smoke. Kids would post themselves online demonstrating, in an oh-so-creepy way, how to do this. The videos became You Tube sensations. Kids were actually teaching other kids how to smoke. This had nothing to do with a cigarette ad.

So, while the graphic details of smoke-inducing horrors put in our faces will hopefully improve the likelihood that current smokers will quit, and, just as importantly, deter new smokers from beginning, dont rely on these images to be the only teachable moments for your kids. Children as young as 2 or 3 years old are able to understand the concept of ‘dirty air’, and even ‘pollution’. And, much to our surprise, 6-year-olds know how to smoke.

Perhaps one day cigarette smoke will be a thing of the past, along with thimerisol-laden vaccines, BPA, and mercury thermometers. Until then, find a way to talk to your kids about smoking. Even if it’s simply telling them that smoking Smarties is stupid.



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