Protecting Your Family at Home and in the Car

"We have an industry that for 40 years sold a product that was deadly, and said it wasn't, and sold a product that was addictive, and said it wasn't. And now they want to be granted immunity. I think that's wrong."

C. Everett Koop, M.D.
Former U.S. Surgeon General
Citizens for Clean Air and Clean Lungs

It is important to remember that smokers have either come to the false conclusion that smoking isn't that bad for them (or other people) or they are unable to control their addiction to nicotine. Either way, they generally do not understand the discomfort, irritation and health problems that their tobacco addiction brings to others.

While many nonsmokers become impatient and angry with smokers, we must realize that most smokers are victims. The tobacco companies, together forming a billion dollar indsutry, hires top market researchers, scientists and other professionals to influence the buying habits of potential consumers. Further, they pick on the weakest members of our society. Remember that that most smokers began smoking around 13-14 years of age. Many of these naive individuals have lower self-esteem, suffer social problems or come from less-stable home environments.

Therefore, be firm but understanding with smokers. Due to their addiction, they have lost track of reality. They wheeze, cough and spit up phlem as they are slowly killing themselves. Shortly after finishing their last cigarette their body begins demanding another. They no longer taste food as they used to; they cannot run or be athletic as they once could; and in general, they are a slave to this nasty habit.

How Smoking Affects You
Nonsmokers who live with smokers are more likely to develop cancer than other nonsmoking adults.

If you have asthma, second-hand smoke can make your breathing problmes worse.

Young children are especially sensitive to second-hand smoke. A baby who lives in a home or rides in a car where one or both parents smoke is more likely to have lung disease serious enough to need treatment in a hospital dunging the first two years of life.

Children exposed to second-hand smoke in the home or car are more likely to cough and wheeze and to have middle ear problems.

What You Can Do
Be consistent. Don't allow smoking at anytime either in your home or your car. Ask smokers to step outside your home to smoke. If they must smoke indoors, make sure they use a separately ventilated room (a garage works well most of the time). If they must smoke when you are traveling, take a break and let them stand outside the car.

Be an educator. Help the smoker quit. While it may seem like you are nagging, you are fighting for their life. Would you let someone throw themself off a bridge?

Be active. Place "Thank You for Not Smoking" signs around your home and in your car.

Be professional. Do not allow visitors such as baby-sitters or others who work in your home to smoke inside.


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