Iowa parents who smoke are being targeted with a campaign that says the best holiday gift they can give their kids is to quit smoking. The effort is being launched on the Become An Ex website.
Diane Debrovner is an editor at Parents Magazine, which is helping promote the program. "It’s an effort to provide as much support as possible to parents who want to quit," Debrovner says.
"The website helps parents identify their top smoking triggers and figure out specific ways that they can avoid those triggers throughout their day. It helps them set a quit date and go through a series of steps before then to prepare themselves." She says the website will offer wanna-be non-smoking parents a community forum, so parents can support one another in the endeavor.
They’ll offer advice about parents can talk to their kids about the process of quitting, since children as young as three know their parents smoke. Debrovner says it’s important that parents let their kids know they’re trying to quit because they want the whole family to be healthier. "They may be a little cranky," she adds, "but they’re doing this because it’s the best thing."
The number of adult Iowans who smoke has fallen from 23% to 18% in the past few years — a rate that’s now slightly below the national average. However, according to a survey of 8th, 10th and 12th graders, the number of young Iowans who smoke is around 19%, well above the national average of 13%. Debrovner says that’s an unfortunate fact that has to change.
"Kids smoke because they see their parents and the other adults in their life smoke, but also because they’re exposed to a huge number of images in the media every single day that makes them think that smoking is glamorous and cool," Debrovner says.
"We need to tell our kids that they need to be savvy media consumers and be skeptical of the messages big tobacco and Hollywood are sending them." A study finds more than 40% of all children are exposed to secondhand smoke each week, and while no parent wants their child to grow up to be a smoker, kids whose parents smoke are twice as likely to light up themselves when they get older.