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Calintay

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At what age do you believe kids should learn about tobacco and such? Should they learn it in school or should it be up to the parents to educate?

I have always informed my son about smoking and why not to do it but today he came home from school saying that they are learning about being tobacco free.

He said:

"Mom I know all kinds of tobacco, smoking, chewing, and pipes." Then he gets his paper out of his backpack that he filled out that it is his decision to choose NOT to smoke or chew. The reason he has made this choice is because his grandma almost died from tobacco.

Now I will say that yes I have told him why his grandma was sick was from smoking but am also honest with him about non-smokers getting cancer also.

I guess I am just a little upset that at 8 years old and in 2nd grade the schools feel the need to educate kids about it. I do not remember having a course on tobacco. Just interested to know who thinks this is appropriate/unappropriate and why and is 2nd grade the right time to teach them? I am pulled both ways on this subject.

Thanks

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I know that 8 years old seems young but let me tell you that this past year we had some boys in 3rd grade who got in big trouble for having Copenhagen at school. And yes, they were actually using it during P.E.

As a dental hygienist I see LOTS of junior high and high school boys who use smokeless tobacco. For some reason smokeless tobacco seems to be the big thing with the kids now. They think it's not a big deal since they are not inhaling smoke. I of course show them pictures of oral cancer to show just how dangerous it can be.

These days it seems that kids grow up so much faster than they used to. They are exposed to negative things at a much earlier age. Now, is it the schools place to do this educating about tobacco? Well, in my opinion, not really. The sad fact is there are many kids who do not have good role models and school might be the only place that they hear about the dangers of such things.

Angie

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They teach them very young here, too. I remember when my Nick was maybe in the 2nd grade, he came home from school, and even though I had quit smoking years previously, he told me that the teacher had told them that smoking cigarettes was the same as being on heroin or cocaine. At the time, it kind of made me mad and I did explain to him that altho I never, ever wanted him to smoke, cigarettes were not illegal like heroin or cocaine was. Now that I have LC - I say go ahead and pound it into these kids heads because I live right by the high school and I can't tell you how many kids come walking up and down the street smoking. Makes me want to go out there and slap them!!!

Am I am proud to say that a very COOL kid (or so the kids think) offered my Nick a smoke since I have been dx'd and he screamed at him - NO!!!! Are you crazy!!! Whew!!!!

I think its just a sign of the times!!!!! :cry::cry:

Hugs - Patti B.

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I think I smoked my first cigarette at about eight yrs old. In 1961 everyone on TV smoked, advertising was abundant, there were no warnings on the packages, and I was with my friends who all thought it was cool. 3 yrs later I was smoking full time and my gramma was dying of lung cancer tho she had never smoked in her life. I spose the education is a better idea than what I had then, but I still don't know if I would have listened.

Donny

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I think it is great that children are being educated about things that can be potentially harmful to them and others around them. When I was a child, the full effects of tobacco use wasn't even known, thus educational programs weren't made available. Yes, I am well aware that many people have LC that are not smokers and have never been smokers. But, there are other health problems associated with smoking other than LC. I would certainly applaud any program that would influence our children to abstain from anything harmful.

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Also....although you are a concerned parent that will talk to and educate her children about the long term effects of tobacco use, we have to remember that there are a lot of parents that just don't take the time to talk with their children. Both of my DIL's are elementary teachers and it's amazing what many parents expect of teachers and the educational system in general these days.

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Calintay

I have to say that I was absolutely disgusted when my 10 year old daughter was telling me that she was learning about the dangers of smoking and at 11 years old she had her first sex Education lesson.

Having spoken with the Teachers they said that if you look at the bigger picture and see just how many children of those ages are smoking and partaking in Sexual activities then you can gain a better understanding of the importance of making them all aware at such a young age.

After doing some research on smoking and Sexual activities in children I can now fully appreciate why our 'babies' have to be taught these lessons so early in life.

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Calintay,

Anything that we as a society comprised of people that love and care about our kids can do to counteract the insidious corporate manipulation of our kids is a good thing. My kids are exposed to a glamorous image of smoking in all sorts of pg and pg-13 movies. Ever see John Travolta not smoke in a movie? The days of Camel Joe and the Marlboro Man are thankfully over, but Madison Ave.'s reach is a long one. Lets agree that counteracting that with education is a good thing.

I will say that I think that you do have every right to be upset due to the school's lack of communication with you, the parent, about the subjects being taught. They should have alerted you to the classroom unit on smoking so that you could dovetail it with at-home lessons on the evils of smoking. That would have made for a potent right/left combo.

Brian

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They start very early here too.

It's called the DARE program here. DARE to be DRUG FREE.

They touch on being drug-free in every grade but the 5th graders get an entire week-long lesson. At the end of it they have a DARE graduation and get a "diploma" that they sign agreeing to stay drug free.

I rememebr having the DARE program when I was growing up too (but the first year it started here I was in the 7th or 8th grade and they taught it in "health" class.)

I don't have a problem with it really. It sparks conversation that I can continue at home.

I think it's our jobs as parents to educate our children on drugs, sex, morality, etc...but lets face it, not all parents will. And the DARE program (at least here) is very interactive with parents so I feel very much a part of my son's education against drug use and what he is being taught.

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We have the DARE program in our school also. Like Katie, my kids had it in 5th grade. Lots of information for the kids and myself too.

I forgot to mention that a couple of years back we had a little girl who had a baby in SIXTH GRADE!!!!! :shock: In 6th grade I wasn't even thinking about "THAT". Not sure if I even knew about sex in 6th grade........that's been a year or two ago.

Angie

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Most kids get offered cigarettes and drugs at school. I know my son has, he talks to me. I also know that if my son has told me it was offered and he didn't do it, that I can trust him (after I smell his hair).

I believe that the schools should teach it, since that adds another bit of peer pressure to NOT smoke, instead of the push of "it's cool". The presentations open the kids' minds and they talk about it among themselves and form opinions with their friends about how bad this stuff can be - and that's a powerful weapon for any parent to build on.

Smokeless tobacco is big here, too. No one ever died of secondhand spit... But, boy, is it NASTY!

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We have the DARE program here as well...great thing for kids! With my kids I think seeing me after surgery with chest tubes, etc. was enough to make them realize that they would like to try and avoid that (if at all possible nowadays) and not smoke...not that it is any guarantee that you won't end up fighting this disease as so many know.

As to the age of kids I have seen smoking - early elementary level (once caught a Grade 3 child with cigarettes - I kid you not!) Where they get the $$$ to buy them is beyond me - cripes - they are expensive!!! As well, last year there were 3 grade 7 pregnancies - 3! So very sad.

In the end though, I still think these topics (including sex) need to be discussed at school because there are many parents that don't initiate these conversations at home. My parents never ever said a word about it - I could have turned out much more warped than I actually am :) . My poor kids would rather have another mother because nothing is out of bounds for me to discuss with them - nothing! Knowledge is power and I think the more we can arm these kids with, the better off they will be. That being said, whenever these topics are being held in the school (regardless of grade) notes are sent home and parents are given the option to have their kids not participate. In a perfect world our kids would learn what they needed to at home - we all know it's far from perfect.

Great discussion though - many opinions and no right or wrong.

Linda

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