2013-03-27 / Front Page

Teaching Children About Smoking Hazards On Kick Butts Day

The Boys’ Club of New York Marion McMahon Abbe Clubhouse, located in Flushing, Queens; the Asthma Coalition of Queens and the North Shore-LIJ Health System recently teamed up to educate youngsters about the dangers of smoking and secondhand exposure during Kick Butts Day, a national day to empower children to fight back against tobacco.

            Every day, approximately 3,800 children smoke their first cigarette and, during that same time frame, about 1,000 kids start smoking on a regular basis, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). About one in five Americans die each year as a result of smoking either directly or through secondhand smoke, the CDC reported.

            To learn about the effects of smoking, Boys Club children created and performed skits and a rap about the dangers of smoking. In addition, they played a game of smoking prevention seek-and-find where the kids found answers about tobacco hazards in a picture.

            “While there have been many efforts to minimize the number of people smoking across the country, the effects of smoking are still a serious problem,” said Nancy Copperman, director of public health initiatives for North Shore-LIJ. “With our continued efforts and those of other groups, we look forward to the day when people are no longer exposed to the negative effects of tobacco. Even brief exposure to secondhand smoke can potentially cause health problems, such as blood clots.”

“Environmental tobacco smoke is a trigger for asthma attacks and can make asthma symptoms worse especially in children,” said Claudia Guglielmo, Director of the Asthma Coalition of Queens.  “It is important for parents to keep their children from being exposed to the dangers of secondhand smoke. Kick Butts Day is not only a time for us to empower our children to be smokefree, but remind parents to use their influence to keep their children from ever starting to smoke.”

            “We commend the organizations and the children who took part in Kick Butts Day to raise awareness about the very real dangers of tobacco,” said Jeff Seyler, President and CEO of the American Lung Association of the Northeast. “In New York State, Big Tobacco is spending over $500,000 a day to lure our kids into an addiction that can cut their lives short. Kick Butts Day is an opportunity for our kids to hear the truth about tobacco and make a personal pledge to say ‘yes’ to their health by saying ‘no’ to tobacco.”      

For information about smoking cessation, call North Shore-LIJ’s Center for Tobacco Control at (516) 466-1980.

For more information about asthma or the Asthma Coalition of Queens, contact Claudia Guglielmo at cguglielmo@lungne.org.

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