Make Father’s Day Smoke-Free (An Uphill Battle)

June 14, 2013

As we scurry about looking for that perfect Father’s Day gift and card for dad, we sometimes see cards with depictions of dad with a pipe in his mouth, looking happy and satisfied. But…wait…he may be satisfied, but what’s with the pipe? A pipe, cigar or cigarette are reasons to go to dad on Father’s Day and instead of giving, asking for something—a promise to kick the habit.

While, overall, the number of people who smoke tobacco products has declined, there is no reason for us to become complacent. Smoking—particularly among certain ethnicities, cultures and economic demographics—remains a critical concern that needs addressing. For example, 37% of African Americans in Wisconsin still smoke and 34% of Native Americans in Wisconsin smoke. Moreover, 36% of all the people who smoke have incomes of less than $25,000. In other words, it appears that those who can least afford to smoke, continue to do so.

The Wisconsin African American Tobacco Prevention Network (WAATPN) is working to get the message out that smoking rates among people in diverse populations are decreasing at a slower rate than the overall population. And, it does not help that the savvy tobacco industry specifically targets these groups with its advertising and products.

As the WAATPN works to address these concerns, we recognize that there is no ‘one size fits all,’ to encourage individuals about the devastating effects of tobacco or to connect them with information and education to kick the habit. Unfortunately, the groups that are already coping with health disparities, is being targeted with promotions and advertising to convince them that it is okay to use tobacco products. And, what’s more, they are targeted our children—with the onslaught of colorful and flavored tobacco products!

Enough is enough. Love your dad enough to give him a priceless gift this Father’s Day—his health! Help him to find a smoke cessation program or convince him to quit.

Happy Father’s Day!

Curtis Marshall
Wisconsin African American Tobacco Prevention Network
8855 North Spruce Rd
River Hills WI 53217

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