Do you remember the anti smoking ads on TV way back in the seventies? I remember them. They were the first infomercials if you think about it. My parents and I used to talk about smoking because of these anti smoking ads or public service announcements. They were powerful and are lodged in my memories, just like the "Smokey the Bear" and "Give a Hoot, Don't Pollute" campaigns.
I think most kids are curious and want to learn adult-themed "stuff". As a kid myself, if a teacher was trying to tell me about it, then I wasn't interested. But if I saw it on television or in a newspaper, then I was super interested. I used to bug my parents with tons of questions about what I saw on the news or in magazines. I was insatiable.
Are the kids any different today? Of course not, they want to know the score, just like we did. Between Facebook and Twitter, this generation seems more hungry for information than I ever was.
What if we actually took advantage of the social mediums available to this generation and showed them some very solid anti smoking ads? High awareness kind of stuff. We could say why smoking was bad, rather than just saying it is bad.
A study out of Canada stated that when the anti smoking policies were explained to the school aged kids, they had a lower smoking rate in that school. So the rules made sense because they were told why it was bad to smoke. The kids responded by not smoking.
So have we lost our way with educating the youth about smoking in this country? Perhaps we should take a page from our not too distant past and begin an education revolution with our children. I'm not talking about just the teenagers, but the little ones too. If you are open and honest about smoking while your kids are young, then they'll be less likely to be fooled when the peer pressure or temptation comes their way.
Hopefully someone will start running some of those anti smoking ads from thirty or forty years ago. Maybe that would give the parents the opening they've been looking for to start a critical conversation with their child. Hey, it worked for me and my dad smoked. By the time I was a teenager, I wanted nothing to do with cigarettes because I knew why it was bad, just like those kids in the Canadian schools.
So bring back the plain speaking, anti smoking ads. Run them on Saturday mornings and on the Disney channel. Who knows, maybe we'll see a drop in the smoking rates of our school aged children.