How would you feel if billions of dollars were spent to get tobacco products in front of your kids? It is happening in stores across our communities. Tobacco companies know that the more kids see the tobacco products and the more enticing and excitement they make it look, the more likely they are to start smoking. As parents we are the first line of defense. It is our job to start the conversation with our kids and help put an end to kids smoking.
This post was sponsored by Tobacco Free New York State as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central. All opinions expressed in my post are my own.
My oldest is 10 years old and the average age of a new smoker in New York State is 13 years old. This was a complete shocker to me. I can’t believe that a 13 year old would start smoking. They can’t drive or have a job but they are being targeted by tobacco marketing campaigns. The more they see a product the more likely they will be to want to try it.
It is never too early to start the conversation with your kids about the dangerous effects of smoking. That is why I partnered with Tobacco Free New York State to bring you ways you can start talking and protect your kids against the tobacco industry.
#1 Start Talking about Kids Smoking With Your Children
You might be nervous to talk to your kids about smoking or you think your child is too young. It is never really too early. Little kids pick up on way more then we think and a visit to the local convenient store is all they need to start being curious about tobacco products. The best way to approach it is to have open communication all the time and make it age appropriate.
Tips to Talk to Your Kids about Smoking:
- Keep it simple. Let them lead the conversation and ask the questions.
- Be honest with them about your experience with smoking.
- Ask them questions. What do they think of kids smoking? Do they know anyone who smokes? Why do you think people smoke?
- Be understanding. Don’t jump in with your own opinions. Help them discuss how they are feeling and lead the conversation to give them a better understanding of the negative effects of tobacco products.
- Be trustworthy. As parents we have to take a step back from judgement or discipline. Our kids need to feel they can trust us and talk to us about what they are experiencing and the choices they make. Good or Bad it is our job to help them move on and make better ones.
#2 Talk About Marketing Tricks the Tobacco Companies Use
Tobacco companies know that the younger a person starts smoking the more likely they will become a life long smoker. They target young kids in our communities to create life-long consumers. I always talk about the way marketers use advertising to make you want something
We talk about how toy commercials make you want a toy or how a fast food ad makes the food look a lot more delicious then it may be when you sit down to eat it. It is the marketers job to sell you the product and they want it to look its best.
I like to play a fun activity with my kids that explains how an advertisement can make anything sound glamourous. This works best with school-aged children. We talk about the ways we see ads being presented as well as what Tobacco ads they may have seen. Then they become the marketing person.
- Have your child pick something they don’t like. It can be a food or a chore, or something really particular to your child.
- Have them brainstorm words and drawings they can make to make their pick exciting.
- Draw a poster or advertisement for this and share it with the family.
This is a great activity to help kids understand the power of marketing. A well thought out marketing plan can make anything seem exciting. Big Tobacco companies are using billions of dollars in advertising budgets to target our kids in the places they visit in our community. This activity helps the kids understand how marketing can impact your desire to want something.
#3 Sign the Petition at Tobacco Free New York
As parents it is our job to protect our kids. Our kids have seen enough and it is time to take action. Head over to Tobacco Free New York and sign the “Seen Enough Tobacco” petition to pledge to make New York a healthier place and help raise healthier kids.
After you sign the petition check out the facts and videos. Watch some of the videos with your kids and continue the conversation with them. As parents we have the power to help our kids and prevent kids smoking.
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