A recent study made on teenage smoking came up with a figure of approximately 4.5 million adolescent smokers in the United States alone. And that everyday, roughly six thousand children below eighteen years of age begin to smoke. Out of that six thousand children, two thousand will grow up to become regular smokers. One survey says that approximately ninety percent of smokers began smoking before they reached the age of twenty-one.
To some teenagers, smoking may begin as an innocent experiment, to some it is their own way of expressing rebellion, but it may develop into a lifelong habit that can be difficult to quit. It has been proven that adolescents who regularly smoke have just hard time dropping the habit. And they say that the best way to get kids to stop smoking is to not get them started on the habit in the first place.
Here are some tips that can help keep your adolescent children away from the smoking habit:
l Seek out the reason. Teenagers have different reason to get into smoking. Some do it just to test what it feels like to smoke, some do it because of peer pressure, some in an attempt to feel cool or independent, some because they want to fit in to a certain group, and some do it because they are rebelling. It may be surprising but some teens smoke in an attempt to lose weight or feel better about themselves. It would be easier to know how to deal with the problem if you know and understand the reason behind it.
l Just say “no”. Telling your kids that smoking is not allowed may be more helpful than you think. A recent study showed that teenagers who thought that their parents would not like to hear of them smoking were less than half as likely to smoke as compared to adolescents who thought their parents didn’t mind.
l Be a good role model. To make your children believe that smoking is bad, set yourself as a good example. Teen smoking is more common among adolescents who are used to seeing their parents smoke. If you smoke, avoid smoking in front of your children, or don’t leave your cigarettes where your children can find them.
l Tap into your teen’s vain side. Although movies may depict smoking as something glamorous and macho, the truth is, it isn’t. Remind your teenagers that smoking is a smelly and dirty habit— it leaves yellow stain on your teeth, stench on your hair and clothes, and bad breath.
l Do the math. Smoking is an expensive vice. Show your teens how much smoking costs on a weekly, monthly, or yearly basis. Compare smoking costs to electronic gadgets, clothes, and other teen essentials to make them understand that they can use that money on other important things instead of buying cigarettes.
l Explain cigarette addiction clearly. A lot of teenage smokers believe that they can quit anytime they want, but that isn’t always true. Teens can become just as addicted to the nicotine in cigarettes as adults do. A recent study shows that of adolescents who’ve smoked at least a hundred cigarettes, most of them would like to quit but are finding it difficult to do so.
l Tell your kids what’s in store. Inform your children o the long-term consequences of smoking – lung cancer, heart attack, and stroke. Not to mention the chronic coughing and other pulmonary tract concerns.
The best way to make your kids understand that they should stop smoking is not by giving threats or ultimatums, instead show them that you’re concerned about their well-being. Be supportive, encourage them that even if they may find quitting difficult, in the long run, with perseverance and will power, they will be able to quit the habit and live a smoke-free and healthy life.