It’s really sad to know that more and more children are getting hooked into the deadly habit of smoking. Among adults who smoke, 68 percent began using cigarettes at the age of 18 or younger, according to the American Lung Cancer Association. Smoking in teens might begin innocently but it could become a long-term problem that’s too hard to cure. If you’re worried about your teen’s tendency to smoke, here are 6 practical tips for you.
Be a role model.
You have to set a good sample for your children so they would know that smoking is something to be avoided. If someone in your home smokes, that would make an impression to your children that cigarettes aren’t really bad for health, adults are just overreacting. Being a role model means you SHOULD NOT smoke as well. Make your home cigarette-free. As the parent, you are the first person your children will look up to, in terms of building habits and values.
Adopt a healthy lifestyle at home.
Make your children realize the importance of a healthy lifestyle. Once healthy eating, rest and exercise become their habits, they are less likely to engage in unhealthy activities like smoking and alcohol drinking. Teach them some ‘pick me up’ techniques that can help improve their mood whenever they are feeling stressed so they won’t give in to smoking temptation.
Talk about the bad side of smoking.
Don’t ignore the questions your teen may ask about smoking. Adolescents are at the stage when they are very curious. They need to be guided to come up with good decisions. If you set aside your children’s inquiries, they might ask other people, probably their peers who may promote smoking instead. It is also important that you educate your kids about the dangers of smoking, even if they are not smoking. This way, they will know your views and stand on the issue of whether to smoke or not. Inform them about the bad side of smoking in a good way and don’t tell them to ‘stop smoking’ as if they have already started.
Tell them it’s not cool.
Many teenagers smoke because they think it makes them cool, glamorous or gorgeous like the models and celebrities they see on TV. So remind your teens that the opposite happens in real life. Those people on the screen are simply promoting tobacco products. Tell your teens that the reality is that smoking could cause wrinkles, yellow teeth, dry skin and bad breath. It could sap their energy for more fun activities, including sports. Worse, it could make them tied to hospital bed in the future.
Cite real life examples.
Talk about friends or relatives who suffered from serious illnesses due to smoking. If they don’t believe it, talk about the most popular people in the world, including world leaders and Hollywood stars who have lost their lives to smoking. Tell your children that smoking is one big barrier against their dreams.
Together with your teens, participate in local and school-sponsored anti-smoking campaigns or programs. This will increase the awareness of your children about the dangers of smoking. At the same time, you are also helping other teenagers become cigarette-free.