As parents, we want the best for our children. We guide them to eat right and to protect their health. We guide them in their choice of friends, what to do with their spare time and what to watch on TV. And we make other tough choices for their well-being. One important choice parents can make for their children is the choice to quit smoking.
When you quit smoking, you’ll be giving your children a real advantage over children of smokers. They’ll have fewer problems with colds, bronchitis, pneumonia, ear infections, asthma and allergies—especially during those important first two years. And they’ll be free of the chronic cough that older children of smokers often develop. If you’re a woman planning to have more children, the advantages of quitting are even greater: Children born to mothers who smoke have lower birth weights and higher rates of premature birth, brain damage, crib death and learning problems than those whose mothers didn’t smoke during pregnancy.
Your own health will also improve when you quit, giving you more energy to deal with the challenges your children are sure to provide.
Smoking and Your Children’s Future
If you had it to do all over again, you might never have started smoking. And you may advise your children not to smoke. But will they listen? Young people start smoking for many reasons, not all of them in your control. But statistics show that children whose parents smoke are twice as likely to smoke as children of nonsmokers. After all, you’re a model for your children in all that you do.
Do your children a favor. Quit smoking, so they don’t have a built-in reason to start.
Imagine losing your parent when you’re a child or going through the difficult teenage years without a parent. We don’t like to think about it, but smoking vastly increases the chances of dying at a young age from heart disease and cancer. No one wants their life cut short, but as a parent you have an added reason for sticking around for the long haul.
Quitting smoking isn’t easy, but with the right help you can do it. Ask your doctor to recommend a program that will support you as you go through the process of quitting. Get your children to help you. After all, good health is a family affair.
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