Father’s Day is a day to celebrate dads for who they are and all of the wonderful things they do. It is also a great time for dads to remember the important role they play in influencing the choices their kids make regarding tobacco use.
Unfortunately, tobacco use among men remains a serious problem: one in five men currently smoke, more than 278,000 men die every year from smoking, and 216,000 kids have already lost their dad to smoking.
Dads who smoke or chew tobacco can celebrate Father’s Day by quitting; and all dads – smokers/chewers and nontobacco users alike – can celebrate Father’s Day by taking a number of effective actions to protect their kids from becoming another one of the tobacco industry’s addicted customers and victims. Even if they use tobacco, what dads say, how they act, and the values they communicate through their words and actions greatly influence whether or not their kids will smoke or chew. All dads can also do a lot to protect their kids from secondhand smoke.
This Father’s Day, advocates from the Kosciusko County Tobacco Free Coalition are encouraging dads who use any kind of tobacco to quit and reminding them that free help is available.
According to the, 2013 Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance Survey, 23.6 percent of men in Indiana currently smoke and 9 percent currently use chew tobacco. These rates are higher than the national averages of 21.6 percent and 7.6 percent, respectively.
According to Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, out of the 51 states, Indiana ranks 39th of the men that use tobacco.  That adds up to 572,400 men in Indiana.  From those men that use tobacco 5,800 die a year from tobacco related diseases that leaves 4,700 kids who have lost their dads to tobacco. Taxes paid for payments to kids with dads who died from tobacco are $64.1 billion. The total health costs to treat male tobacco users are $1,763.8 billion a year.
According to the CDC the leading cause of death in men is heart disease and cancer. The effects of those diseases can be eliminated or lessened greatly by quitting smoking or chew tobacco.
Men who stop, greatly reduce their risk for disease and early death. Although the health benefits are greater from men who stop at an earlier age, there are benefits at any age. You are never too old to quit. Quitting tobacco is the best thing fathers can do for their children and improve their health.
Make Father’s Day a tobacco free day!
Men who use tobacco and are ready to quit can call 800-QUIT NOW to receive free help through Indiana Tobacco Quitline. You can also take advantage of local help by calling me at 260-571-2464. Your local Coalition is at 1515 Provident Drive, Warsaw.