Editor's Note: This is the third of four letters from a writing campaign engineered by the Northview High School Advanced Health Class.
To the Editor:
It has been brought to our attention in our Advanced Health class at Northview High School that tobacco has become an issue at the Clay Youth Football League.
Some of the adults do not realize their impact on influencing the players just by lighting up a cigarette on or around the field.
Having a parent is a bad enough influence, let alone if they are around their coaches and other fans using tobacco at the league as well.
In the coach's handbook at Northview High School, it states that a coach should "create a set of training rules for athletes, who reflect the positive values of abstaining from the use of drugs, alcohol and tobacco."
This is the coach's guidelines for Northview who influence high school students, so therefore, the same kind of guidelines should apply to the adults at the league that are influencing even younger and more vulnerable kids.
Lots of kids use sports and entertainment figures as their heroes.
The league, just like any other sporting event, shows kids how to become good citizens with positive values.
It is a great program to show kids how to be a good sport and work as a team player.
The league is a good program and we do not want to see the kids lose this opportunity, but we think that maybe we could team up with the league and make it a better, more positive setting for the kids.
We would like to see the league go tobacco-free, so that it won't send a negative message to the kids.
We would even help with providing free signs to the league to place around the fields.
When their role models smoke or use tobacco in public, they send a powerful message to our youth that smoking is both acceptable and cool.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), observational learning occurs frequently in children.
This is when an observer's behavior changes after viewing the behavior of a model.
Children are easy to influence during adolescence, which is the ages the football league is influencing.
If adults are smoking around these adolescents, it will increase the chances of those kids smoking later in life.
Someone dies every eight seconds from tobacco.
What if this was your child?
What if there was something the league and Northview could change to help show your child that smoking is not OK?
Why not at least try to help by not smoking in front of the kids so that maybe these kids today won't be the teens using tobacco in the future?
Even if you never actually quit using tobacco, think about what you're doing when using it around the players.
It will have a bigger impact than you realize.
Northview High School,
Advanced Health Class