Celebrate Mom for Being Smoke Free and Protecting Kids
Celebrate Moms for Being Smoke Free!Mother's Day is a popular holiday celebrated in many countries around the world. It's a time to celebrate and honor mothers for all they do in their many roles, especially raising children. This Mother's Day, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) encourages you to congratulate and give the gift of thanks to those mothers who have quit smoking and to offer support to those who are trying to quit.
Why It's Important to Help Moms Quit SmokingTobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death in the United States. In 2010, nearly one in five U.S. adults (45.3 million) were current smokers. Smoking dramatically increases ones risk for heart disease, stroke, many kinds of cancer, and other illnesses. Heart disease continues to be the leading killer of women in the United States. Smoking causes an estimated 80% of all lung cancer deaths in women. And compared with nonsmokers, smoking is estimated to increase the risk of women developing lung cancer by 13 times.
Unfortunately 18% of women in the United States still smoke cigarettes. But surveys indicate that at least three out of four of them want to quit. This May, let moms know how important they are to you and how you want them to do something important for themselves and their families: quit smoking. Let them know that you are supportive. Social support from family and friends helps people quit and stay quit.
New CDC Campaign Highlights the Real-Life Health Consequences of SmokingCDC recently launched a national tobacco education campaign called Tips From Former Smokers. This campaign features a variety of real people, many of whom started smoking in their teens, who are suffering from smoking-related illnesses. By showing people whose lives have been impacted by the damage caused by smoking, CDC hopes to encourage smokers to quit and young people not to start and to strongly discourage smoking around children.
Meet Beatrice, a Mom Who Successfully Quit SmokingBeatrice, a 40-year-old mother of two boys, is featured in the Tips campaign. At age 7, she tried her first cigarette; at age 11, she experimented with her second. Beatrice then began smoking regularly when she was 13. She had friends who smoked, and she wanted to be "cool" like the other kids.
More than 25 years later, Beatrice still smoked. She was not a heavy smoker and had not been diagnosed with any smoking-related health problems, but she wanted to quit. Her family also wanted her to quit. "I decided to quit because my son wrote me a letter and left it on the kitchen table for me to read. Once I saw it, I felt really badly because I knew it was affecting him."Although she had tried many times before, in 2010, Beatrice quit for good. "My son is really proud that I've quit smoking; he thinks it's the best thing I've ever done." In addition to getting support from her family, Beatrice went online and asked for her friends' support; worked with her doctor; and removed all cigarettes, lighters, and ashtrays from her house. She encourages anyone who wants to quit smoking to do it—and to get help if they want it.
Celebrate Moms Who Protect Their Children From Secondhand SmokeMothers do everything in their power to protect their children. They try to protect them from injury, illness, and just about anything that is deemed to be within their control. But what about protecting them from something that they may not have realized poses a threat? Did you know that there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke and that tobacco smoke contains a deadly mix of more than 7,000 chemicals (including toxic substances like formaldehyde, arsenic, lead, carbon monoxide, hydrogen cyanide, ammonia, and butane)? Separating smokers from nonsmokers, cleaning the air, and ventilating buildings do NOT eliminate exposure to secondhand smoke. Following is important information to share with moms to ensure that they are aware of the dangers of secondhand smoke.
- Each year more than 300,000 children suffer from infections caused by secondhand smoke, including bronchitis, pneumonia, and ear infections.
- Secondhand smoke exposure causes sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), acute respiratory infections, and more frequent and severe asthma attacks in children.
- Millions of children continue to be exposed to secondhand smoke in the United States. In fact, about 54% of children (aged 3–11 years) and 47% of youth (aged 12–19 years) are exposed to secondhand smoke.
Meet Jessica and Her Son, AdenAlso featured in the new Tips From Former Smokers campaign is a mom named Jessica. Jessica's 7-year-old son, Aden, suffers from asthma attacks that have been triggered by secondhand smoke exposure. Aden was 3 years old when he was diagnosed with asthma. Although Jessica never smoked, many of Aden's attacks happened while he was at his caregiver's house. She was a smoker. Unfortunately, Jessica wasn't aware of the connection between secondhand smoke exposure and asthma. It took a visit to the emergency room for her and Aden's doctors to make that connection. "What I've learned as a parent about secondhand smoke is you have to protect your kids and stay away from people who smoke, because it's really bad." Jessica urges people—especially first-time moms—to be more aware of their surroundings and not be shy about telling people not to smoke around their children. Following are tips you can share with moms to help protect children from secondhand smoke.
- Do not let people smoke around your children. If you take care of children in your home, do not allow anyone to smoke there. Do not let baby sitters or family and friends smoke around your children.
- If you are a mom who smokes, quit. Children of parents who smoke are twice as likely to become smokers. Resources like 1-800-QUIT-NOW and www.smokefree.gov can help moms quit smoking for good.
- Choose restaurants and businesses that are smoke-free. "No Smoking" sections in restaurants do not protect children from secondhand smoke.
- Make sure your children's day care centers and schools are tobacco-free. A tobacco-free campus policy prohibits any tobacco use or advertising on school property by anyone at any time. This includes off-campus school events.
- Make your home and car completely smoke-free. Opening a window does not protect you or your children from secondhand smoke.
- Teach your children about the health risks of secondhand smoke.
An Important Reminder for Future MomsFor women planning to have children, it's important to understand the health risks associated with tobacco use. Smoking increases the risk for adverse pregnancy-related health outcomes, including infertility, spontaneous abortion, premature rupture of membranes, low birth weight, neonatal mortality, stillbirth, preterm delivery, and SIDS.
Support to QuitFor free quit support, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669; TTY 1-800-332-8615). This service provides free support and advice from experienced counselors, a personalized quit plan, self-help materials, the latest information about cessation medications, and more.
Cessation services and resources are also available online in English, and in Spanish. These Web sites provide free, accurate, evidence-based information and professional assistance to help support the immediate and long-term needs of people trying to quit smoking. Also refer to the National Cancer Institute's new smoke-free teen initiative.