Give Your Children the Facts
Every day nearly 4,500 boys and girls light their first cigarette. And you know what happens after that! They are so eager to light up, for they think that somehow it will help them grow up.
Roger Babson, the famous statistician, made this comment: "When America's keenest minds are using the newspapers, magazines, movies, and radios to entice youth to drink whisky, smoke cigarettes, and make heroes of criminals, those youths should have the other side of the argument from someone."
You are the best person to tell them what is ahead if they begin smoking.
One tobacco company used this slogan: "When tempted to reach for a sweet, reach for a cigarette instead." Tell your girls that, whereas sweets cause pimples—cigarettes will rapidly age their youthful skin; so that, by the time they are twenty, they will look thirty five. Tell them to reach for oranges and fresh fruits instead.
One news editor, writing in a music and drama journal, deplored the fact that famous artists receive thousands of dollars to let their picture be shown on a cigarette
ad. "I know of some endorsers of cigarettes who have never smoked in all their lives," he added.
When the tobacco advertiser came to Sonja Henie, at that time the world's champion figure skater, he told her: "You don't have to put one in your mouth, but we will publish your picture and give you $2,500." Her response was: "I don't smoke. I won't take your $2,500. I am ashamed of women who smoke."
A United States Surgeon General said this:
"If American women indulge in the [tobacco] habit, as reports now indicate they are doing, the entire American nation will suffer. The physical tone of the nation will be lowered. This is one of the most evil influences in American life today. The habit harms a woman more than it does a man."—Hugh S. Cummings, U.S. Surgeon General.
Joseph Byrne, Managing Director of the National Beauty Shop Owners Convention, made this comment: "The features of women who smoke grow coarser as the nicotine habit fastens on them. Their skin becomes taut and sallow. The lips lose their rosy color. The corners of the mouth show wrinkles. The lower lip shows a tendency to project beyond the upper lip. The eyes acquire a stare, and the lids rise and fall slowly."
Tell us the last time a cigarette smoking girl won the "Miss America" contest. You can't, because it never happens.
Smoking also tends to make young women coarse and mannish, and it injures the voice. Madame Schumann-Heink was considered to have one of the most marvelous singing voices in her time. At the close of a concert, at a women's college (Smith College, in Northhampton, Massachusetts), she was asked for an encore—another song. Instead she gave them something better:
"Now listen, girls, don't be disappointed, for I am going to talk to you now, not sing. I have something very important to say, and it will do you far more good than another song. I don't want to talk to your mothers or your fathers or your grandfathers. I just want to talk to you young girls. It is about cigarette smoking. I want you to know that I never smoked in all my life and I never will. I think, and say it with all my heart, that it is a crime that you children are poisoning your young bodies by smoking cigarettes. Why do you do it? What the men are doing is none of my business. I am speaking to you girls as a woman, a mother."
Daniel H. Kress, M.D., tells of a boy who was brought to his Detroit medical clinic. He had the appearance of a lad of nine years of age. Defective both physically and mentally, he was asked by the nurse, "How old are you?" "Fourteen," he replied. To her next question, "How long have you smoked?" he replied, "Since I was two years old." "Who taught You to smoke?" "My brother." Horrified, the nurse said, "Your brother! Your brother ought to be in jail." The boy replied, "He is."
Boys idolize sports athletes. But any athlete that would sell his name or picture to the tobacco companies for their advertising—is a traitor to those boys. W.W. (Bill) Roper, former football couch at Princeton University, said, "I know of nothing that has exasperated me more in my entire twenty five years' experience with football than the flaming billboards with the pictures of several ex-football players, coaches, and officials advertising cigarettes!"
A tobacco company sent their advertising agent over to see John Wagner, a veteran Pittsburgh shortstop. The man was very eager to obtain permission from Wagner to print his autographed photograph on little cards that could be inserted in cigarette packs. He offered Wagner five hundred dollars for the use of his name; then a thousand dollars. Finally he handed him a blank check—and told him to write in his own amount.
"No," said Wagner. "Why not?" asked the amazed tobacco agent. "I thought all ballplayers were money crazy." Wagner replied: "I'll tell you, it isn't worth the money to me to encourage any boy to smoke cigarettes. If my name and picture on a card will have that result, I am not going to sign up, no matter how high you go with your offer."
Do you want to become a great athlete? Ask "Red" Grange, the famous football player. He has some advice for you. Here it is: "You cannot drink and smoke, and expect to succeed as an athlete." The cigarette agents came to Jack Dempsey with an offer of quite a bit of money if he would only give his endorsement to their brand of cigarettes. "You could not get me to sign that for ten times what you offer," he replied. "I do not smoke cigarettes, and never did. Do you think I am going to ask the thousands of young boys who read about me to take up cigarette smoking?"
Speaking about tobacco advertising, Lieutenant Commander Gene Tunney, former heavyweight boxing champion of the world, at that time in charge of the U.S. Navy physical training and athletics program, said this: "I've always opposed the pernicious advertising that extols the 'benefits' of tobacco using. Such misleading advertising I cannot rap too hard. It is dangerous, particularly to our 35 million young people. To contract the tobacco habit when the growth factors of the body are exerting themselves to their maximum is to handicap oneself physically and mentally for life."
At the time when Gene Tunney gave the above comment, Joe Louis was the world heavyweight boxing champion. Gene then said this: "It's many years since I retired from the heavyweight championship. But here's a challenge: If Joe Louis will start smoking, and promise to inhale a couple of packages of cigarettes every day for six months—I'll engage to lick him in fifteen rounds."
And then he added, "Of course, Joe wouldn't be foolish enough to meet my terms. No boxer, no athlete in training smokes. He knows that whenever nerves, muscles, heart, and brain are called upon for a supreme effort, the tobacco user is the first to fold."
When the writer of this booklet was a boy, there were only about twenty poisonous chemicals known to be in nicotine. Years later, about 200 had been discovered. At the present time over 3,000 chemicals have been found by scientific researchers—and 2,000 of them are strong poisons. It is remarkable how many toxic chemicals are in a tobacco leaf!
Consider just one of them: furfural. This chemical acts upon the undeveloped brain cells and nerve tissues of young people who use tobacco in any form. It degenerates their brain and nerve cells. Furfural is found in liquor as well as in cigarettes; but the Lancet, a British medical journal, says that there is more furfural in one cigarette than in two fluid ounces of whiskey.
Thomas Edison, the famous inventor, analyzed cigarette paper and found that, when burned, it produced a substance called acrolein. As a result of careful research, Edison said this: "It [acrolein] has a violent action on the nerve centers, producing degeneration of the cells of the brain, which is quite rapid among boys. Unlike most narcotics, this degeneration is permanent and uncontrollable [irreversible]. I employ no person who smokes cigarettes."
Arnfinn Bergmann, an Olympic ski jumping champion, said this of tobacco: "Jumping is a sport of concentration. The jump itself only lasts a few seconds. It is therefore necessary that the ability to concentrate is not weakened and dulled by tobacco and other bad habits."
Australian tennis star Frank Sedgman gave this comment on his path to success: "When I took up tennis I decided definitely not to smoke. I sincerely believe that, if a young person wants to achieve, he should not indulge in this hurtful practice."
Henry Ford, inventor of mass production methods and one of the two largest automobile firms, said this: "The world of today needs men, not those whose minds and willpower have been weakened or destroyed by the desire and craving for alcohol and tobacco, but instead men with initiative and vigor, whose mentality is untainted by habits which are oft times uncontrollable."
More than a century ago, America only consumed the equivalent of 50 cigarettes a year per capita; now it is about 4,500. A farmer was asked how he succeeded in having such a fine flock of sheep. He replied: "I take care of my lambs." It is time that we take better care of the lambs in America. And the place to start is with the children and youth in your own home.
The most important influence in your child's life is you. Your personal attitude toward smoking has a powerful influence on him.
We need to change the air of permissiveness and acceptability that surrounds smoking; we need to change the common view of the cigarette smoker.
Cigarette advertising plays heavily on adolescent minds. Our youth see the ads showing healthy young men splashing out of seaplanes onto Alaskan shores, strong men and beautiful women with cigarettes between their fingers.
What should you tell those young people?
Quietly rib the commercials and the ads. Show the fakery. No one is quicker to sense phoniness, when it is pointed out to him, than a teenager. It is a fact that beautiful women do not smoke cigarettes; only the others do. It is a fact that strong, unusually healthy men don't either. Once a person begins the nicotine route, he starts heading downward. The pre-teeners and teenagers in your home are quick to recognize such facts, when you point them out to them. Believe in their intelligence and don't talk down to them. Describe smoking as the health menace that it really is.
The adult world—of smokers and nonsmokers alike—is well aware of the immense problem that tobacco is in personal life; but the teenagers need to be told before they acquire the habit. Together, with them, look through some articles and publications that show what nicotine does to the human body. One mother brought home a set of mugs, and painted on each the name of a different poison: arsenic, cyanide, hemlock, cocaine, and nicotine. Sure, it was something to laugh at each time they used these cups, but her teenagers got the point.
Your young boy, longing for manhood, may tend to look up to smoking as the mark of the suave man of the world. Casually point out to him that some psychologists maintain that men who smoke are actually less masculine and more neurotic than nonsmokers. Psychiatrists compare the habit to thumb-sucking, a regression to infancy. Explain what happens to sports heroes who smoke. Outstanding athletes know they cannot keep fit and smoke too.
Your young girl may see a cigarette as a symbol of glamorous womanhood and a way to attract the opposite sex. Gently ask what's the use of perfume and primping, if her breath smells like tobacco and her teeth are stained with nicotine. Explain to her how nicotine rapidly ages the appearance of the skin. Does she really want to look 38 by the time she is 25?
Most girls want to eventually get married and become mothers. Tell your girl the facts given earlier in this book about the effects of smoking on fetuses and infants of smoking mothers.
And to both your boys and girls, tell them that their bodies belong to God. Only as they keep their body temples clean and pure, can they fulfill His will for their lives. This life is only part of eternity. We must accept Jesus as our Saviour and obey the Ten Commandments. Bible religion is our only passport from this life to eternity in heaven.
Perhaps, as you talk to your child or teenager, he may ask why you started smoking years before. Find your own way of saying, "Be smarter than I was. Don't start!" He knows that you have quit, or are trying to do so. He will understand. Push the action button against teenage tobacco. It is one of the deadliest threats to the future health and long life of our children and youth. Begin at home. Talk frankly and earnestly to your children and teenagers. Quit the habit yourself. What you do right now about tobacco may affect their entire future.