This Sunday is Mother’s Day. My mother, Cherrie Richardson, definitely deserves to be celebrated. Since my father passed, she has been my sole provider, support system, cheerleader and moral compass. Without her, I would not be a 4.0 student and God fearing person that I am.
One way we can help moms be healthy is to encourage them to quit smoking or using tobacco. Sadly, many women in our country and state are affected by tobacco use, and according to the American Lung Association, lung cancer is the #1 cancer killer of women in the US.
I am so blessed that my mother is not a smoker. As a member of the Wisconsin African American Tobacco Prevention Network (WAATPN) FACT group, which is part of Wisconsin’s youth tobacco prevention movement, I’ve learned so many of the negative impacts of tobacco use. Because my mother has chosen not to use tobacco; I am less concerned about her health and well-being.
Sixty-seven percent of smokers become addicted to tobacco before age 18 so we know that one of the best ways to reduce the number of women using tobacco is to prevent kids my age from ever starting in the first place. As a FACT member, I’m doing my part to help my generation be tobacco-free by educating my peers and state leaders. On March 20, I had the privilege to testify before the Joint Finance Committee hearing at Alverno College. I spoke up about the damage that tobacco does to families, including mothers.
Free help is available for anyone that wants to quit through the Wisconsin Tobacco Quit Line at 1-800-QUIT NOW. For more on the FACT movement, visit FACTmovement.org.