There’s a long list of reasons to quit smoking, but if you're a parent, the reason that tops the list is the health of your children.
Nov. 18 is the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smoke-Out, an annual day when millions of smokers strive to quit tobacco for 24 hours.
“It’s a great opportunity for parents to go a step further and pledge to quit forever,” said John McBride, MD, director of the Robert T. Stone Respiratory Center at Akron Children’s Hospital. “Second-hand smoke is unhealthy for any child, but especially those with asthma and other respiratory conditions.”
According to Dr. McBride, it is not unusual for a child’s asthma symptoms to clear up when a parent stops smoking.
“Tobacco is an addiction and quitting takes planning and support,” said Dr. McBride.
Slightly more than 20 percent of Ohioans smoke, ranking the state 17th in the nation.
Jo Ann Bedore, RN, Akron Children’s asthma education coordinator and a licensed smoking cessation counselor, works with parents who wish to quit smoking and directs them to resources.
“Every pack of cigarettes you smoke in the presence of your children is the equivalent of them smoking three cigarettes themselves,” said Bedore. “At the very least, we urge parents to never smoke in the house or car.”
On Nov. 18, Bedore will have educational materials available in Akron Children’s Timeline Lobby, near the hospital’s main entrance and atrium. The table, set up from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., will have materials on the dangers of second-hand smoke, teen smokers, smoking cessation resources and the connection between asthma and tobacco.
“In addition to the adverse health risks, parents are often not aware of the social stigma they may be causing their children, as other kids often comment about the smell of their clothes and house,” said Bedore. “Quitting is the best gift you could ever give your child.”
Bedore points out these resources for parents wishing to quit smoking:
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