If you resolved to quit smoking this year but have not done it yet, then February is the perfect month to leap into it with Smoke Free St. Louis Kids! Smoke Free St. Louis Kids is a smoking cessation project developed by Children's Environmental Health, a program committed to making homes healthier and maintaining the well-being of St. Louis' children.
St. Louis City has one of the highest rates of smoking in the state of Missouri and in the nation; currently about 27% of our population are smokers. This is especially alarming when we already know that smoking is associated with adverse health effects ranging from heart disease to increased risk of cancer, and even death. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), "smoking harms nearly every organ in the body, causes many diseases, and reduces health in general." We also know that secondhand smoke contributes to poor health in adults, so imagine the harm that inhaling secondhand smoke has on our children, whose little bodies are still developing! This is why Smoke Free St. Louis Kids is working to help smokers understand the harm of second- and third-hand smoke and is recruiting parents, pregnant women, family members, and individuals whose smoking puts their children at risk.
Remember, the year has only just begun, and it is never too late to jump into that resolution! Please join our smoking cessation courses now or leap right into our program on Wednesday, February 29th, when we will be registering new participants from 11:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m .at the City Hall Rotunda and in the 1520 Market Street lobby. Keep an eye out for our tables in those locations. For more information, please visit our website: www.SmokeFreeStLouisKids.org or call 314-657-1478. You have the power to contribute something great, and Smoke Free St. Louis Kids is excited about working together towards making your life and our children's lives smoke free!
Over the past years, the health of our city's children has been challenged with problems related to asthma and lead poisoning. In 2009, St. Louis City was named the "Asthma Capital" in the United States, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America's "100 most challenging places to live with asthma" list. Additionally, our City has had one of the highest rates of lead poisoning in the country for many years. Lead poisoning in children causes a host of health issues, ranging from learning disabilities to developmental problems.
Now you are probably wondering, 'what does smoking have to do with asthma or lead poisoning?' Exposure to secondhand smoke can cause asthma in children who did not have it before; and for children who already suffer from asthma, secondhand smoke can trigger severe asthma attacks and make symptoms worse. Tobacco smoke contains lead, and thus children who are exposed to secondhand smoke also have higher levels of lead in their blood, contributing to lead poisoning. Overall, about 90% of children's exposure to secondhand smoke comes from parents who smoke.
Among our goals is to help children thrive in a healthy environment, and in fact St. Louis City enacted smoke-free laws to protect public health and promote a smoke-free city. The St. Louis City Smoke Free Air Act of 2009 made it illegal to smoke in enclosed public places. City Ordinance 64840 prohibits the sale of cigarettes to anyone 17 years or younger and also prohibits the sale of loose cigarettes. City Ordinance 64463 made it illegal to display any sign advertising, advocating, or promoting the use of a tobacco product within 2,000 feet of a public park, daycare facility, community recreation center, and public or private school. For more information about these ordinances, or if you are interested in seeing a map where advertising is not allowed, please visit our website.
Smoke Free St. Louis Kids is here, not only to help families with young children understand how smoking contributes to poor health effects, but also to help participants learn how to quit and remain smoke-free. We offer smoking cessation classes, coaching and counseling, referrals for nicotine replacement treatment, as well as transportation and childcare assistance. Most importantly, we will help you learn how to develop the skills to remain smoke free.
Department of Health
City of St. Louis
Department of Health