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June 16, 2014

Cheers and Jeers: June 16, 2014

JEERS to adults who smoke around children.

It was a sweet sight, a dad walking along in downtown Plattsburgh with a little boy one recent afternoon — the man frequently glancing down to make sure his son was within reach and the child skipping along by his father’s side.

Then the dad took a drag on a cigarette.

A similar scene unfolded on Margaret Street the next day, this time with a woman pushing an empty stroller as her little girl walked beside it. Seemed like she wanted to be a big girl like her mom.

But then the woman raised a cigarette to her lips — not a good example to follow.

Another woman was spotted on Rugar Street pushing a carriage with a small child riding inside. It was a beautiful day, and the scene would have been picture perfect.

Except the woman was puffing on a cigarette as she walked. Worse yet, she was pregnant.

You might think: What is the harm of these people smoking outdoors, where second-hand smoke isn’t as much of a danger to their offspring?

Consider the psychological — and future physical — impact to children who follow in their parents’ footsteps. Numerous studies have shown that the children of smokers are more likely to pick up the habit themselves.

According to healthychildren.org, secondhand smoke can be especially dangerous to children because their lungs are still developing. Even if parents smoke only outside, the site says, children are still at risk. 

“The best way to eliminate this exposure is to quit,” it says.

Concern for their children might be just the impetus that parents need to quit smoking. And there is plenty of help out there. Call the New York State Quitline at 1-866-NY-QUITS (1-866-697-8487) for information, encouragement and smoking-cessation materials. And while we are on the subject of nasty habits:

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