Tuesday, January 27, 2015

A parent's smoking habit could pay for a child's college. Choose life, shop tobacco free.

* This is a sponsored post by Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, however all opinions stated are that of my own.

Do you ever look at someone with a cigarette and automatically want to snatch it out of their hand, break it in half, and stomp on it? I know, I know, the stomping part makes it sound like a child throwing a tantrum. And in a way, that's exactly what it is—me wanting to throw a tantrum every time I see someone wasting their money and more importantly, their life, on this addiction. Tobacco is a product that kills when used as intended, and one that costs $289 billion in health care bills and economic losses every year, and yet it continues to be one of the biggest problems of our society. Let that sink in for a minute—two hundred and eighty-nine billion.

And then the tobacco companies who spend so much money on marketing, $8.8 billion a year, $1 million per hour, trying to target our youth and bring our debt even further in health care costs. All for what—so that their product can damage every organ in the body and kill 480,000 Americans a year {more people than alcohol, aids, car accidents, illegal drugs, murders, and suicides combined}.

When you put it that way, who would ever want to put a cigarette to their mouth. But of course the truth isn't what sells, it's the image that they are trying to portray. The image that forgets to share the damage that is taking place inside.

You know, I never understood why anyone would invest so much of their finances into something that is so damaging. Growing up, we had very little money. There were times I couldn't go on field trips, simply because of the cost. Yet, somehow, my mom was able to afford cigarettes. I know that sounds bitter, and she has long since quit and this has never been something that I held against her, but I just want to point how contradictory that sounds, and a life that many children out there live today.

Think about what you can buy with the money one spends on a pack of cigarettes. I did a quick search and found that the average cost of a pack in the Midwest is around $4.96, which is tripled in the state of New York. Some of course run more, but we will stick with $5 for an easier way to look at numbers.

Five dollars. That is if they buy just one pack, and there are many people out there that buy more than one. Five. That is $35 a week. That is $150 a month. That is $1825 a year. That is $32,850 over the course of 18 years.

That, my friends, is a college paid for. A family who very well cannot afford the luxuries in life, lives their life paycheck to paycheck, could now afford to send their kids to college and save them from having student loans with accumulating, and devastating, interest. And then if both parents smoke, that is two college tuition paid for. And if they smoke even more than one pack a day {which is very common} then we are talking even bigger numbers. A mortgage paid for.

That is just one example, but it sure puts things in perspective when you start doing the numbers. What starts out as just $5, turns into the cost of a home, or multiple homes throughout the person's life. And these numbers don't even include the health care costs involved with the long-term effects of smoking—cancer. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Asthma. Pneumonia. Airway infections. Heart disease. Stroke. Aortic Aneurysm. Just to name a few.

Folks, those diagnoses don't come cheap. In fact, hefty price tags, and the biggest price tag of all is: LIFE.

What Can We Do

Is life important to you? Is the life of your loved ones important to you? How about our children. All children out there. Do we want to save their life, their health, and ultimately the debt that this country is accumulating in health care costs? Then share your stories. Share them loud and clear. And most importantly, #ShopTobaccoFree.

I want all retailers out there to quit selling tobacco products. My family and I want to support the places that do allow us to shop tobacco free. A place that supports this movement supports health and life over money and destruction.

Find #ShopTobaccoFree Retailers Near you

If you are not already aware of the retailers that are currently part of this program, then I strongly urge you to check it out. I urge consumers to also thank those retailers, and to consider letting retailers that are not a part of the program the important facts of why they should pledge to be Tobacco Free.

It's as easy as 1-2-3.This is a direct link to search by zip code the retailers near you.

If you don't see a store that you shop at in the list, then I encourage you to take a stand in  Check out the wall of shame of retailers here, tag these retailers, and share this link for them to go to apply to be a Tobacco Free Retailer. Be sure to use the hashtag #ShopTobaccoFree on all outlets.

You can further show your support and follow Shop Tobacco Free on these social media outlets: Remember to use the hashtag and share your stories!

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