Libraries are institutions which promote education and knowledge for all who seek it. Families attend libraries to teach their children about a myriad of topics. Students check out books needed for study or reports. Some libraries even offer computers for online use, such as web browsing.
Libraries have been around for a very long time. According to Dear Librarian, the oldest library on record was the Library of Alexandria, in ancient Egypt. It is speculated to have been built somewhere around 367 BC to 283 BC. Although, record keeping has been around even longer than that.
This is why libraries are the perfect medium for anti-tobacco education. They have supported and advanced the sharing and accumulation of knowledge for people for centuries. They have assisted in the keeping of historical records, offered published findings leading to scientific advancements, exposed classic literature to the minds of many, and have provided information in regards to all aspects of humanity, and beyond.
Tobacco and Kids
Tobacco farms employ child labor on the field. According to a report issued by the Human Rights Watch, children work in excess of 12 hours a day, and often 6-7 days a week. The effects of child labor reaches beyond its moral implications, and extends to medical issues. Health complications from nicotine exposure, accidents from farming equipment, dehydration, and heat exhaustion are some of the health issues these children face.
These issues are not only happening abroad – it is happening right here in the US, and it is still happening today. Many families are unaware that these things are legal, and are taking place every day. Libraries are the centerpiece of American culture, traditions, and knowledge. Making this information known and readily available could help countless children, and perhaps even save lives.
Tobacco and Families
Many families have a parent or relative living at home who smokes. Even though so many already understand that smoking is bad for their health, still many more do not understand the full range of dangers.
Smoking causes heart disease and asthma, to blood and lung cancer. However, the danger does not stop there. With thousands of chemicals inhaled with each puff, hundreds of health issues could arise. Smoking in the home unleashes this barrage of chemicals into the air, allowing anyone in the home to become victim to these potentially devastating results.
Second-hand smoke can contribute to birth defects, and even SIDS. Unborn and newborn infants are endangered in a home where someone smokes. Even smoking outdoors does not abate all danger from smoking. Third-hand smoke lingers on porous material, skin, hair, even clothing. Third-hand smoke is the “residue” from smoke. It contains the same harmful chemicals, and it can be released into the air of the home simply upon reentering.
Libraries for a Smoke-Free Environment
Libraries have the ability to make this information readily available to families upon entering, or exiting the building. It is one thing having the information attainable for those who are looking for it, it is quite another to put the information front and center. Many do not know what to look for, because smoking has become a routine habit.
Many have no idea that buying cigarettes is supporting child labor right here in the US. As long as people are buying tobacco products, there will be a child who labors in the field to provide it. Many do not realize that purchasing cigarettes can lead to the health complications of infants and other members of the family – even when they smoke outside.
Libraries have the ability to make this information known, even to those who didn’t know they were looking for it. Once this knowledge is learned, it cannot be ignored – or forgotten. Libraries have provided many with otherwise unattainable information, and have given students, both young and old, the ability to gain an education. Libraries are urged to take the next logical step, and help countless people to learn about the effects of tobacco use.