"If everyone is doing it, it can't be all that bad."
That's what most kids would say if you asked them what they really think about smoking or drinking alcohol. It's hard for today's youth to understand how their choices today will impact their adulthood--especially when the media is telling them a different story.
That's why organizations such as MD Anderson and the American Cancer Society are working to educate families about the harmful risks associated with tobacco use.
It's a Fact:
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
- more than 1 out of 4 high school kids are tobacco users
- nearly 90% of adults who are regular smokers started as teenagers
- each day, more than 4,000 kids under the age of 18 try their first cigarette
- approximately 1,100 teenagers each day become regular, daily smokers
- about one-third of these kids who are regular smokers will die prematurely from a smoking-related disease
Tips for Parents
- Be good role models. Don't smoke or use smokeless tobacco products.
- Talk openly with your children about not using tobacco and teach then how to resist peer pressure.
- Encourage your children's school to prevent and reduce student tobacco use.
- Combat marketing for tobacco products by letting your children know how cigarette companies are trying to reach and influence youth.
Tips for Schools and Educators
Schools are prime territories for kids to be subject to peer pressure. Teachers can play a vital role in educating their students about the harmful effects of tobacco use.
ASPIRE (A Smoking Prevention Interactive Experience) was jointly developed by MD Anderson and The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston and was funded by a grant from the National Cancer Institute. The curriculum is available in both English and Spanish.
More Tobacco Prevention Resources