To the Editor:
Father’s Day is a very special day to celebrate “you” and everything “you” represent to your family. I remember the role model my father exemplified and how his choices influenced many of my decisions throughout my life. My father’s greatest gift to my family was 1964 when he quit smoking. I will never forget my dad talking about the US Surgeon General’s report to my sister and me.
My dad told us that the report stated that cigarette smoking was responsible for a seventy percent increase in the death of smokers compared to non-smokers and estimated that a heavy smoker had at least a twenty-fold risk of developing lung cancer. As a young girl hearing this from my dad really scared me, I did not want my father to die from smoking. However, I was very lucky because that day my father quit smoking. This report saved my dad from the ill-effects of smoking and gave him 15 more years of life and saved us from further exposure to second-hand smoke.
To all fathers out there, whether you smoke or use tobacco the best gift you can give your family is to quit and protect your children from second-hand smoke. What you say, how you act, and the values you communicate as a father has an enormous influence on whether or not your child smokes or will smoke. And did you know that children from families who smoke are twice as likely to become smokers themselves? Therefore, you need to talk to your kids about how addictive smoking is, why you want to quit, and how important it is to never start can beat those odds?
Therefore, with father’s day soon approaching let’s take an important step to protect our children from the ill effects of tobacco use and celebrate the day by quitting.
Unfortunately, tobacco use among men remains a serious problem; one in five men currently smoke, more than 269,600 men die every year from smoking, and 216,000 kids have already lost their dad to smoking. Let’s not be the next statistic. If you have tried to quit and can’t quit, just keep trying, never give up.
If you don’t smoke you can celebrate Father’s Day by taking action to protect your children from becoming another victim of the tobacco industry. It is important that we all get involved and keep our children from smoking. If you would like information on how to get involved please email Ben Todd, St. Lawrence County Tobacco Program Coordinator at [email protected].
If you do smoke or use tobacco and are interested in learning about how to quit smoking, contact Beth Gero, Ph.D., Certified Tobacco Treatment Specialist at 315-261-5436
C. Beth Gero, Ph.D., CTTS, Canton-Potsdam Hospital