helping teens quit
Most people want their children to remain smoke-free. We all know it impacts their health negatively, and the longer you smoke, the more damage it causes. Furthermore, studies have shown that teen smokers turn into adult smokers. Most smokers begin smoking before the age of 19; if young people can stay smoke-free until age 19, they are likely to stay smoke-free for the rest of their lives.
To help you get your teen to quit and stay smoke-free (or never start smoking) we have prepared these tips and quidelines. You can also call the Smokers’ Helpline to get more information on how you can best support your child.
It is very important to discuss the subject of tobacco addiction with children of all ages. Talking with your kids can help them avoid succumbing to peer pressure and the other numerous influences that lead to smoking. You also want to make sure that they are well informed with facts, instead of common myths about smoking. Keeping an open dialogue will give you the opportunity to correct any false information your children may have picked up.We understand that starting a conversation with a child about smoking may be a little difficult. Here are some suggestions to help you get started. Click on the links to get facts that will help you in your conversation.
- Ask the child what they know about smoking and addiction.
- Inform them of how easily people can become addicted to nicotine (80% or people who try smoking two or more cigarettes become hooked for life).
- Educate them about the dangers of smoking and how it affects the body.
- Discuss the advantages of being smoke free. If the child is involved in sports, talk about how smoking causes shortness of breath and makes it difficult to play as long as they would like.
- Show them how expensive smoking is with the smoking calculator. Compare the monthly costs with the purchase price of things your child may want to buy.
Peer pressure is an important fact of growing up. Studies have found that kids will change their behaviour in order to fit in and not be ostracized. Resisting peer pressure is a challenge and takes a bit of practice and guts. This is where a parent can help. You can go over some lines that work, and even role-play with your kid, until they feel comfortable with the lines that work for them.Here are some suggestions:No, thanks:
- Cigarettes are so last year.
- I’m not into smelling like “eau de ashtray.”
- Yellow skin and teeth don’t go with my complexion.
- Is this what you do to be cool?
- It’s not cool anymore. Haven’t you heard?
- Why would I do that when everyone else is trying to quit.
- I like my lungs.
- I’d rather spend my money on (concerts, a guitar, saving for a trip). Did you know a pack of cigarettes a day will cost this much in a year? (Use the savings calculator to find the exact amount using the price of cigarettes in your area.)
- Yeah, I’m not going to jump off a bridge if you ask, either.
- Cancer runs in my family, so I don’t want to push my luck.
- My parents would freak if I smoked.
- I’m into sports and don’t want to mess that up.
- Stay calm and nonjudgmental. You want your child to be comfortable talking to you about anything.
- Being supportive works better than being threatening and issuing commands.
- Ask your teen why they started smoking. Perhaps it was peer pressure and they wanted to fit in. Or they wanted to look cool or more grown up. If you understand why your teen is smoking, you’ll have a better idea about how you can help them quit.
- Encourage your child to talk with you about the pressures they may be facing.
- Since young kids often feel immortal, appealing to your child’s vanity will often work better than warning them of health dangers. If the child is concerned with his or her appearance, mention that smoking stains their hands, causes yellow teeth, bad breath, stinky clothes, and prevents acne from healing.
- Listen. Ask how you can help them quit smoking and remain smoke-free.
Remember to keep the lines of communication open and to continue talking about smoking. Peer pressure and tough choices continue throughout adolescence right into adulthood.
Encourage your kid to get support by calling the Smokers’ Helpline: 1-800-363-5864. They may also wish to sign up for automatic texts.