A recent study conducted on teen smoking in the United States revealed a shocking 4.5 million juvenile smokers. Even more shocking is that approximately six thousand children under the age of eighteen begin to smoke everyday. Statistics show that out of this six thousand, two thousand will become regular adult smokers. The study also revealed that about ninety percent of cigarette smokers began their habit before they had turned twenty one.
Most teenagers begin to smoke out of curiosity or just to experiment, for some it might be a way of rebelling; except that it can lead to a life long habit which may be extremely difficult to break. As with adults who find it difficult to stop smoking, so too do teenagers. As with any disease the best cure is prevention and the same adage should be used to stop adolescents from smoking.
Here are some tips that will hopefully prevent your teenage children from starting to smoke.
- Enquire why they want to start smoking. Some do it just as an experiment, some pick up the habit due to peer pressure, and some think that it makes them look cool and independent. Believe it or not some adolescents think that smoking promotes weight loss so they pick up the habit in an attempt to shed some pounds. Find out why your teen is smoking, and if you can figure out what the problem is. It will be easier to solve once you know why they started in the first place.
- Prohibiting your teen from smoking may be helpful after all, In fact a recent study conducted showed that juveniles who knew that their parents would not like for them to smoke were less likely to smoke as opposed to those juveniles who were under the impression that their parents did not mind them smoking.
- Be a role model for your child. If you want your kids to know smoking is bad then do not smoke yourself. Studies have shown that teen smoking is common amongst kids whose parents do in fact smoke. If you are a smoker, try not to smoke in front of your children and be careful not to leave your cigarettes where they are likely to be found by your kids.
- Many teens think that smoking is cool, especially since television shows and movies, depict it as something macho and sometimes glamorous. Make your teen aware that smoking is in fact a dirty and very smelly habit. It will stain your teeth to a yellow color, your clothes will smell and so too will your hair. Not to mention that it also causes bad breath.
- Discuss how expensive smoking is. Sit down with your teenager and do some math. Take a calculator and figure out how much cigarettes would cost on a weekly basis. From there try to figure out how much it would cost on a monthly and then yearly basis. With these figures, compare it to the price of clothes or gadgets and some other juvenile essential to help them understand that they could use that money on many other relevant items rather than on cigarettes.
- Explain to them that cigarettes have nicotine in it, and that nicotine is a very addictive substance. If they think that they will be able to quit easily they are mistaken. Studies have shown that teens who smoke at least a hundred cigarettes, have tried repeatedly to quit, but are finding it difficult to give up the habit.
- In addition, explain the risks of health related issues with regards to smoking. Discuss with them how long term smoking can lead to lung cancer, a stroke and may be even a heart attack. It also causes other lung diseases such as emphysema and chronic coughing.
If your teen has taken up smoking understand why and make them understand that it would be beneficial for them to quit smoking. Show them that you are supportive and encourage them to quit smoking even if they are finding it difficult to do so. Tell them you want them to quit smoking and hopefully live a clean, healthy and smoke free lifestyle.