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Kick Butts Day: Teens & Tobacco Use

By Jill Feilmeier on March 20, 2014 in Kid's Health

3.20 Kick Butts Day

Kick Butts Day is March 19, a national movement to help teens stop smoking. It's especially important given that 2014 is the 50th anniversary of the Surgeon General's Report that linked smoking to heart disease and cancer.

We’ve made progress in the last 50 years, but there's still more to be done. According to the Health Consequences of Smoking – 50 Years of Progress, recently released by the Surgeon General, cigarette smoking has dropped from 42% in 1965 to 18% in 2012. Yet 42 million Americans still smoke. And if teens under age 18 continue to smoke at this rate, there will be 5.6 million of them “projected to die prematurely from a smoking-related illness,” according to the report.

So what can you do to help your teen stop smoking or avoid starting in the first place?

  • • Give your child the facts about tobacco use and its effect on the body. If you're talking to a teen, avoid judging them if they do use tobacco.

    • Encourage them to get involved in sports and other activities where smoking would be a problem.

    • Appeal to their vanity. Smoking causes yellow teeth, bad breath, gum disease and cavities. Chewing tobacco also contributes to oral cancer.

    • Take your teen to see a dentist for regular checkups. Help them remember to brush their teeth at least twice a day and floss once daily.

If you are a smoker yourself, learn more about why you should kick the habit too!