Monday, June 3, 2019

This Father’s Day, the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline is encouraging fathers who use tobacco to make the healthy decision to quit. From the decisions they make to the habits they practice, their behaviors can have a lasting effect on their children.

Bryce Barfield, of Shawnee, decided to quit smoking when his daughter was six months old. After more than 25 years of smoking, Barfield finally decided that the risks associated with being a smoker only meant he would have less time in life with his new baby girl.

“I know how important dads are to daughters, and I wanted to be there for my daughter as she grew up,” Barfield said. “I knew very well that if I didn’t quit smoking, I wasn’t going to make it. Being there as a healthy dad was the biggest thing on my mind. I attempted to quit so many times, and I knew I needed all the support I could get. That’s why I called the Helpline.”

Barfield called the Helpline in 2008 and has been tobacco free ever since. To assist Oklahoma fathers on their quitting journey, the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline connects those registered with specially trained Quit Coaches who provide nonjudgmental support and help build personalized Quit Plans. Free Quit Coaching and nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) are available for all Oklahoma tobacco users trying to quit.

“My daughter knows that my main reason for quitting smoking was for her, so that I could live a long life and be there for her,” Barfield said. “I am working to be a healthier dad for her, and I am in good health after six-and-a-half years of being smoke free. It is something I don’t ever want to turn back to.”

Unfortunately, tobacco use among men in Oklahoma remains a serious problem as 21.1% of Oklahoma males smoke. Additionally, 13.7% of men use smokeless tobacco.

Fathers who smoke not only put themselves at risk but are putting their families in danger by exposing them to the 70 cancer-causing chemicals in secondhand smoke. Additionally, infants and young children are particularly vulnerable to secondhand smoke, as their bodies and lungs have not yet fully developed. Exposure to secondhand smoke can lead to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), ear infections, asthma attacks, bronchitis, pneumonia, low birth weight and more. This Father’s Day, families can support their fathers in maintaining a tobacco-free lifestyle. Family and friends can visit the “Help Someone Quit” page at OKhelpline.com for tips and advice to help loved ones quit tobacco.

Call 1-800-QUIT NOW (1-800-784-8669) or visit OKhelpline.com to explore all of the free services and resources available to Oklahomans.