WORCESTER, Mass. - TheDailyVoice.com accepts letters to the editor. Signed letters may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
To the Editor:
As children head back to school, let’s prepare them to be successful both in the classroom and on the playground. How best to manage time; the importance of exercising; eating healthy foods and getting enough sleep; studying hard; and how to get along with others, are just a few of the conversations happening around the dinner table as summer rapidly comes to a close. However, there is one important topic that might be overlooked - tobacco.
Most parents are unaware that the tobacco industry is targeting kids. They have begun introducing new products that are cheap and accessible. Snus, chewing tobacco, small cigars, and dissolvable tobacco are just a few of the items on store shelves that carry flavors such as mint, chocolate, and cherry. Some of these items can be purchased for less than a $1!
The tobacco industry knows that in order to stay in business they need to hook young people. Because their bodies and minds are still developing, young people are especially vulnerable to nicotine addiction. Nearly all adult smokers started before they were 18.
What can parents do about this? Talk to your child about tobacco, especially these new and equally dangerous tobacco products. Log on to www.makesmokinghistory.org for more information. As long as the tobacco industry is developing cheap and accessible products marketed toward children we need to remain vigilant as a community.
Tina Grosowsky, Project Coordinator
Central MA Tobacco-Free Community Partnership
A Program of the UMass Medical School
Funded by the MA Tobacco Cessation and Prevention Program