I can’t believe my kids are in grades two and five this year. Where does the time go? With all their new-found summer independence I wonder if this is the year they’ll want to walk home on their own. I’ve let them ride their bikes without me, and go to our little town’s downtown strip on their own. . . it’s all a little scary with the headlines, but I remind myself to ground my helicopter and let them grow. Just the other day at Costco, I sent my 6-year-old to the washroom by himself and a woman grabbed my arm and said, “GO. GO WITH HIM. Do not ever let him go alone, you don’t know what could happen.” Yikes, there’s so much to worry about, isn’t there?
I read on my local parenting Facebook page about drugs in our sleepy little suburban community, and it makes me want to gather up my kids and move away. But we can’t avoid this kind of thing. We need to rely instead on education instead of avoidance.
Oof. This parenting thing makes world issues of all kinds feel so close to home.
A few months ago, I wrote about the illegal tobacco trade in Canada, and how that affects us all, too. On the outside, a pack of cheap smokes seems like the least of anyone’s concerns, but the problem goes so much further than that. These cigarettes are linked to cocaine and meth dealings, gun violence, and more. When one of every three cigarettes bought here are contraband, it means a huge contribution to the criminal networks that supply drugs to our kids, participate in human smuggling, and provide guns to gangs.
This is serious business, and it’s something that deserves acknowledgement, doesn’t it? We can’t ignore the fact that this trade affects all our communities. It’s a loss in tax revenue, yes. But if you can’t see how that negatively impacts us, maybe the facts will make it clearer. An estimated $75 million dollars per year is being put into the hands of the criminals who make our world less safe for our kids.
I remember being in high school and knowing which kids sold the cheap smokes. It was great, right? Cigarettes were expensive (and they’re even more so now!), so saving money on them seemed great when nobody can see the big picture. But it’s these cheap cigarettes that are funding gangs, putting guns on the streets, providing illegal drugs to kids.
It’s gotta stop. We all want our kids to walk to school safely on their own. We want them to grow up in places where stray bullets never find them.
If you’d like to know more, follow the #StopIllegalTobacco hashtag on Twitter, and take a look at their website. It’s sobering information, for sure.
Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by the National Coalition Against Contraband Tobacco. I have received compensation for my involvement in this campaign; however, all opinions on this post are strictly my own.