(June 14, 2012)Father's Day is a day to celebrate dads for who they are and all of the wonderful things they do. It is also a great time for dads to remember the important role they play in influencing the choices their kids make regarding tobacco use. Unfortunately, tobacco use among men remains a serious problem: one in five men currently smoke, more than 269,000 men die every year from smoking, and 216,000 kids have already lost their dad to smoking.
Dads who smoke can celebrate Father's Day by quitting, and all dads, whether or not they smoke, can celebrate Father's Day by taking a number of effective actions to prevent their kids from becoming tobacco users and protect them from secondhand smoke.
“Even if they smoke, what dads say, how they act, and the values they communicate through their words and deeds has an enormous influence whether or not kids smoke,” said Lynne DeMoor, Community Health Coordinator at the Health Department of Northwest Michigan. “And all dads, smokers and nonsmokers alike, can also do a lot to protect their kids from secondhand smoke.”
The primary source of secondhand smoke exposure for children is the home, but children are also exposed to secondhand smoke in schools and other places, as well. That exposure increases the chances that the children will suffer from smoke-caused coughs and wheezing, bronchitis, asthma, pneumonia, potentially fatal lower respiratory tract infections, eye and ear problems, and other health problems.
“As a parent, you are one of the most important people in your child's life, especially when it comes to cigarettes. You can make a big difference in the choices your kids make,” said Natalie Kasiborski, Coordinator of the Early Childhood Behavioral Health Initiative at the Health Department of Northwest Michigan. “Children watch their parents to learn how to behave and what is acceptable.”
DeMoor offers the following ways that dads can keep their children from smoking:
The Health Department of Northwest Michigan is mandated by the Michigan Public Health Code to promote wellness, prevent disease, provide quality healthcare, address health problems of vulnerable populations, and protect the environment for the residents and visitors of Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmet, and Otsego counties.