Smoking and Quitting: Clean Air for All
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Illustrated by Joe Weissmann
- Why do my parents smoke when they know it's bad for them?
- When there is smoking around me, how can I protect myself?
- Why can't people just quit?
- When I grow up, will I smoke too?
Lots of kids share these concerns when people they care about do something dangerous to their health, such as smoke cigarettes.
Smoking and Quitting: Clean Air for All tells the story of Daniel and his neighbour Trev's desire to live in a smoke-free home and apartment building. Neither of them can understand why his parents and other people they care about smoke when they know that it's bad for them. Smoking was becoming a big problem—firefighters put out a fire in the laundry room that someone had started with a lighter, Daniel's mom smoked when she walked the dog, and Marmalade the cat got sick from Mr. Becker's smoking. The boys were even learning about how dangerous smoking was at school. Mustering up their courage, Daniel and Trev decided to hold a meeting to make their building smoke free. Everyone agreed to try to quit. Daniel began to worry when his mother started smoking again, and he learned that it was good to talk about his feelings and concerns. But they all had a lot to celebrate by the end of the summer; their building was almost smoke free! The best advice for Daniel and Trev? Never start smoking in the first place.
Supported by a Health Canada grant, Smoking and Quitting is written for children in Grades 1–5 (approximately aged five to 10 years old) and meant as an educational resource. More importantly, using the book with children is a way to open dialogue about smoking: it's intended to address common concerns as well as to give children some strategies for protecting themselves from second-hand smoke.
Smoking and Quitting has been awarded Curriculum Services Canada's CSC Seal of Quality, recommending it as a reference for teachers and other school professionals who work with children and youth. It will be helpful for those who want to address the impact of smoking in children's lives, such as:
- teachers, school counsellors and librarians
- addiction and mental health professionals
- parents and other family members.
Some suggested uses of the book include:
- integrating the book into elementary school curricula through a classroom or library reading circle and facilitated discussion
- as a starting point for a collaborative school group project about smoking risks, consequences and prevention strategies for students
- for parents, caregivers or other family members to read and discuss with children
- for a child to read on her or his own, then discuss
- for adults or older children to read independently.
Smoking is the leading preventable cause of death worldwide, and kids have many, often unexpressed, questions. Encouraging children to talk to you and others about smoking, and acknowledging and responding to their concerns, are some of the most important things you can do for them.