Tobacco and your family

Using Tobacco Around Your Kids

The drawbacks of tobacco use have been documented thoroughly for decades. But if you’re like me, you still find it difficult to deal with your habit. Cigarettes obviously expose children to harmful secondhand smoke, which may cause asthma, lung cancer, and other health problems. Smokeless tobacco won’t harm their lungs, but it’s not innocent either. The truth is that smokeless tobacco can lead to oral cancer, gum disease, heart disease, increased blood pressure, and other nasty conditions. I used smokeless tobacco for a number of years, and my kids were right in the line of fire. How was my smokeless tobacco use affecting them?

A child who sees a parent using tobacco must think it’s alright for them to do so as well. The parent is the child’s role model. It is our job to teach children correct behavior and how to make the right choices. Using smokeless tobacco is obviously a bad choice. But when I found out my child was using it, how could I blame him? He saw me every day stuffing my bottom lip with smokeless tobacco. How could I be a hypocrite and tell him that he shouldn’t use it? It was up to me to put a stop to my own use first.

But as anyone with this habit will tell you, it wasn’t an easy as it sounds. I struggled with my habit, and so did my son. I noticed his sleeping patterns took a turn for the worse. His grades in school plummeted, and he started to get detention for falling asleep during class. He was always tired even when he had a “dip” in. I knew these feelings all too well. I could no longer allow my son to take after my bad habits. I quit using smokeless tobacco, and so did he.

My wife used to smoke, too, until she realized the damage it did to her and to all of us. Smokeless tobacco is easier to hide since it doesn’t have the pungent odor and trail of cigarette butts. And even though we concealed our smokeless tobacco use, she always suspected that something was wrong. I began to feel better immediately after I quit using smokeless tobacco. My son told us that he was feeling more rested after a good night’s sleep. His grades improved, and the discipline problems at school disappeared. His health and his life took a big leap forward. I figured that was the least I could do for him.

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