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Survey Suggests Smokers are Bad Parents

Update Date: Jul 24, 2013 01:23 PM EDT

Not only does smoking harm one's health, it can also negatively affect those around you. Studies have found strong evidence that second hand smoking and even third hand smoking, which is contact from smoke residue, can lead to health complications. Now, a new survey suggests that smoking harms more than just physical health. This survey, conducted by Pfizer, the pharmaceutical company for its Don't Go Cold Turkey Campaign, found that smokers might be bad parents.

The survey was administered to 6,271 smokers and asked smokers how they managed to pay for their cigarettes amidst poor economic times. The poll revealed that 60 percent of smokers would refuse to pay more than $12 for a pack of cigarettes while only one percent said they would be willing to pay over $61. Although the majority of people would not spend that much money on a pack of cigarettes, smokers would go to certain lengths to get a pack of cigarettes if they did not have enough money.

The researchers found that 20 percent of smokers stated that they had decided to buy their children cheaper items, such as clothes and shoes in order to save the extra money for cigarettes. 17 percent admitted that they would even start cutting back on food and drinks for their children if they needed the extra money. 35 percent chose to specifically cut back on treats while 20 percent stated that they would skip Christmas and Birthday presents. 17 percent said that they would cut back on toys in general.

The survey also found that a little fewer than 13 percent of parents would stop after school programs that cost money. Around seven percent of smokers did not allow their children to go on class field trips in order to save money. Aside from lowering a child's quality of life, which affects both physical and mental health, parents were shockingly willing to also take money from children's piggy banks. Nine percent of smokers stated that they had taken money from their children's piggy banks without telling them.

This survey revealed that these parents are willing to keep their smoking habits at the expense of their children. They were also unsurprisingly more than willing to make their own lives more difficult. Even though 65 percent of the sample stated that they felt financial pressures, around 1,000 of the participants were willing to use their savings in order to purchase cigarettes instead of quitting. Around 275 interviewees stated that they had stolen from friends of family members in order to get cigarettes. Seven percent of people opened a credit card just for smoking, another 11 percent chose to forgo food for cigarettes and 100 people asked strangers for money.

"Most smokers are fully aware of the financial burden that a smoking habit can have on their lives but the vast majority are not taking advantage of the free help available to them from their healthcare professional," Dr. Sarah Jarvis, who is a part of the campaign stated. "Smoking is extremely addictive, and while 70 percent of people who still smoke say they want to quit, the average number of times a smoker has tried to quit before succeeding is four."

This survey's findings remind people of the importance of quitting for the benefit of all. 

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