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Have kids persuade parents to quit smoking?

Health Smoking Parents 2006

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#1 Themis

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Posted 25 July 2006 - 03:27 PM

Full article:  http://tennessean.co...mplate=printart


Program teaches children songs, words to persuade family members to quit

Staff Writer

Published: Tuesday, 07/25/06
Kids protest secondhand smoke

Last month, U.S. Surgeon General Richard H. Carmona said the debate was over: Secondhand smoke is dangerous and particularly harmful to children. But quitting is extremely difficult, and smokers almost always fail on their first try.

Some local health workers say maybe people's own children will be able to persuade them or even guilt them into giving up the habit.

Deborah Blockmon, outreach worker for the Nashville REACH 2010 project, believes it can work. The project, Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health, is part of a national effort to eliminate disparities in the health status of black and white Americans by 2010.

As a member of the two-person tobacco team for the project, Blockmon conducted smoking-cessation workshops for adults, but few of them sought help in quitting. Things were very different, however, when she talked to children at day care centers in north Nashville.

"I asked them if anyone in their family smoked and they said yes and they told me how it smells bad and makes them cough," she said.

So Blockmon created songs for children to sing every time someone lit a cigarette in their presence.

At Schrader Lane Childcare Center, she sang her song to the tune of "Three Blind Mice" with the students who were mostly 3 to 6 years old.

"I won't smoke. I won't smoke; When I grow up I won't smoke; It'll make you choke (cough). It'll make you choke (cough); When I grow up I won't smoke."

The kids loved it, especially the coughing part.

Either because of shame, curiosity or sheer amazement, children's parents started asking about quitting or at least wanted to know more about the affects of smoking on their children, Blockmon said.


Any exposure to secondhand smoke can cause heart disease and lung cancer in nonsmoking adults, according to the surgeon general's recent report on the effects of exposure to tobacco smoke. Exposure to secondhand smoke increases a nonsmoker's risk of developing heart disease by 25 percent to 30 percent and lung cancer by 20 percent to 30 percent.

The effects can be even stronger on infants and children. Secondhand smoke contains at least 50 cancer-causing chemicals. The surgeon general's report noted that infants and children are particularly vulnerable to those poisons because they are still developing. Secondhand smoke is known to cause sudden infant death, respiratory problems, ear infections and asthma attacks. Parents who smoke at home are stunting the growth of their children's lungs.

<snip lots>

Nicotine addition is the primary reason why quitting is so difficult. Smoking cigarettes delivers a swift kick of nicotine to the brain, with drug levels peaking within 10 seconds of inhalation, according to NIDA.

Nicotine activates the pleasure and reward pathways of the brain, but the high wears off within minutes, which leads to frequent dosing another puff or another cigarette.

But it's not just the chemical effects that lead to addiction. Cigarette smoking creates a powerful behavioral addiction. People get used to a cigarette between their fingers or to smoking at certain times of the day. People smoke when they are stressed, bored or angry. It becomes a routine and it's distressing when the routine is interrupted or eliminated, said Dr. Chrystal Clamp, an internal medicine physician at Centennial Medical Center.

For all those reasons, doctors cannot simply order a patient to stop smoking. "In order for a person to be successful, they have to want to quit," she said. "If they don't have the motivation, no medicine is going to make them quit."


Still, Blockmon said children will get a smoker's attention when another adult anti-smoking message will be dismissed.

"The children are powerful change agents," she said. "Children have no agenda and that gets adults' attention."

<lots of snips>

I initially loved the idea, but I can see the adults get so sick of the kids singing stop-smoking songs to them that the kids would end up in trouble, so I wonder how this will work.

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#2 Bobby


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Posted 25 July 2006 - 03:40 PM

I could see the teacher getting into some arguments with some parents over this.  If she's telling those kids to sing it any time their parents light up and the parents tell them to be quiet and they keep on because the teacher said so?   I think that teachers going to be cussed out.

#3 Mary Rose

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Posted 25 July 2006 - 03:50 PM

Speaking from my own experince, I tried for most of my childhood to get my mother to quit smoking.  She's still smoking today.  Maybe it will work on some but it won't work on all.

And I know for sure if I smoked that kind of thing wouldn't work on me.  I'd just get annoyed and yell at my kids to leave me the hell alone.  Just like my mom did to me. hehehe

We all know smoking is bad and yet even today people still take it up.  They always have and they always will.  Let's just accept this and move on.  There are lots of other things in the world that are bad for people besides smoking.  That's life.  

I'd rather live life with risks because life would be boring if it was safe.  But hey, maybe that's just me. :D
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#4 The Oncoming Storm

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Posted 25 July 2006 - 04:08 PM

View PostMary Rose, on Jul 25 2006, 03:50 PM, said:

We all know smoking is bad and yet even today people still take it up. They always have and they always will. Let's just accept this and move on. There are lots of other things in the world that are bad for people besides smoking. That's life.

Adults are adults and responsible for what they do to themselves and have to live with the consequences.  Hell, my dentist will eventually get tired of telling me, "Quit drinking sodas.  Quit drinking sodas."  As to the "other things," breathing is one of them depending on where you live.  I'm not far from a series of refineries in Texas City and there's not much telling what the north wind brings to us some days.  :disgust:

View PostMary Rose, on Jul 25 2006, 03:50 PM, said:

I'd rather live life with risks because life would be boring if it was safe. But hey, maybe that's just me. :D

Don't have to tell me, though, I often confused "risks" with "stupid" or "dangerous" when I was in high school.  :crutch:

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#5 veganmom

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Posted 25 July 2006 - 04:15 PM

Hee hee childhood memories....When my dad was out on cruise for 6 months every once in a while, my mom would try smoking (because it was supposed to calm your nerves, and left alone with 4 kids, well you can imagine). EVERY TIME we'd pull up to a gas station and she'd take my little brother to go to the bathroom, the rest of us would rummage through her purse, pull out the pack of cigarettes, and throw them in the gas station trash....she'd notice about 10 minutes down the road and be SO MAD!!!!!!

Thank God none of us have that gene that makes us able to be physically addicted to cigarettes. Didn't really have an effect on her, doesn't on me or any of us.....but we still laugh at how mad she'd get!!!

#6 Zwolf

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Posted 25 July 2006 - 04:22 PM

I remember one time my mom had quit smoking, then a month or two later she borrowed a cigarette from a friend and lit up... and I went and got my watergun and shot 'er in the face and put it out.  :)  I got in some trouble for that but told her if she lit another I'd do it again, so I think she got the message.


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#7 Anastashia


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Posted 25 July 2006 - 04:23 PM

Maine has a very interesting Public Service ad campaign that has young teens, who have lost parents to smoking related cancers, talk about how the loss affects their lives, missing their parents, etc. Don't know how effective it will be but it's an interesting approach.
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#8 FlatlandDan



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Posted 25 July 2006 - 04:36 PM

I made my dad quit smoking when I was six because I was part of a no smoking grads of the year 2000 program.  I sang a song in both english and french.

Of course, that hasn't stoped me from smoking one a night when I'm at work *sigh*
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#9 offworlder


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Posted 25 July 2006 - 05:39 PM

you know, it often doesn't work anyway; I tried and tried to get me mum to quit, she only did when she got the big lung C when it was too late; daddy though quit cold turkey the minute he met a new lady and she was defiantly against smoking, not within oh I dunno maybe a thousand feet of her; and he never went back, healthy now to this day; I guess you should meet and cheat, and then you can cold turkey your way to healthy golden years :blink:
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#10 Nonny


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Posted 26 July 2006 - 11:10 AM

One of my nieces used to hide my sister's cigarettes, and successfully got her mom to quit.   :)   But when she hit her teens, she started.  :(   She managed to stop while she was pregnant with her first baby, but since her loser of a husband smoked, started again as soon as she brought the baby, who has some kind of respiratory problem from her difficult birth, home.  They smoke "outside" which, to them, means in the door with the smoke blowing inside.   :angry:  Poor kid has two parents smoking, one of whom is unreasonable, the other scary, so I doubt she'll have much luck with them.   :(  :angry:  

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