To the Editor:
Happy Father’s Day to all the dads in Lincoln County. As a parent, you are one of the most important persons in a child’s life, especially when it comes to cigarettes. You can make a big difference in the choices your kids make.
If you smoke, quit. If you can’t quit, keep trying. Children from families who smoke are twice as likely to become smokers themselves, but parents who try to quit and talk to their kids about the how addictive smoking is, why they want to quit, and how important it is to never start can beat those odds.
Maintain a totally smoke-free home (even if you smoke). Educate your child about the dangers of cigarette smoking. Talk about addiction and how hard it is to quit smoking. Emphasize the immediate health effects. Emphasize the effects of smoking on physical appearance.
Listen to what your child says and does about smoking and encourage your child when he/she makes good choices.
Ask your child about his/her friends and their attitudes toward smoking. Discuss peer pressure and how to deal with it effectively.
Clear up any misunderstandings your child might have about smoking. For example: everybody is not doing it; getting hooked can happen very quickly, and quitting is very difficult.
Make sure your kids’ schools have strong and well-enforced no-smoking rules for kids and staff.
Be the best Dad this year by following the easy directions that can help your children not pick up a cigarette. Thanks.
Mary Trescot, Healthy Lincoln County, Damariscotta