The dangers of cigarette smoking have been known for many years. Smoking has been shown to cause a variety of health problems in the short term, including shortness of breath, persistent coughing, weakened immune system and even dental problems. In the long term, smoking has been linked to greatly increased risks of cancer and chronic health problems such as heart disease and smoke.
In the context of all this, it may seem amazing that anyone would want to start smoking at all these days, but they do. Although teen smoking has dropped over recent years, over 200,000 young people under the age of 15 start smoking in the UK every year. Furthermore, scientific studies have found that 9 out of 10 adult smokers began the habit in their teens.
Therefore, it is vital as a parent that you discourage your child from smoking. However, thanks to peer pressure, the media and honestly teenage rebellion and recklessness, this can be easier said than done. Let’s look at some tips and tricks for stopping your teen from smoking.
Take a Hard Stance Against Smoking
Be very clear from early on that smoking is absolutely forbidden. React strongly if your find evidence that your child is smoking. Implement strong punishments at the same time as explaining to them why you are doing so.
Communication here is key – be sure to explain the reasons you don’t want them to be smoking and exactly why it is so bad for them. Even if do not suspect your teen is smoking, have open discussions about it. Ask them how they feel about smoking and whether any of their friends smoke, at the same time as being very clear on your position towards smoking.
Appeal to Their Own Interests
There are many reasons why your teenage child should not want to smoke, and so be sure to make these clear to them. Physical appearance and attractivenessis of paramount importance to teenagers, so be sure to tell them what smoking will do to their looks and attractiveness in general. Cigarettes make your clothes, breath and hair smell, turns your teeth yellow (and can eventually make them fall out), makes the skin sallow and makes you age more quickly.
This is also the age range where money starts to become important: as teens are looking for independence and following the latest fashions. Smoking is extremely expensive – the average British smoker spends £3,796 on cigarettes each year – so you could do well to remind them of that.
Be Aware of E-cigarettes
Thanks to vape juice now coming in a variety of flavours and sophisticated new e-cigarette designs, it’s not just cigarettes you should be aware of when it comes to your teen. There are increasing concerns that vapingwill appeal to teenagers, and indeed a number of teens are starting vaping rather than smoking.
E-cigarettes do not contain the same harmful chemicals and carcinogens found in cigarette smoke, and have been recommended by official bodies such as Public Health England to help people quit smoking. However, they do contain nicotine and so represent a danger for teens who have never smoked cigarettes becoming addicted to nicotine, which could lead to smoking tobacco products.
Lead By Example
Teenagers copy the behaviour that is modelled for them, and smoking is no exception. Teens who have one or parents who smoke are more likely to smoke themselves, and it is pretty difficult to take the high moral ground on this issue if you are smoking yourself!
If you are a smoker, quitting as early as possible, preferably before your child hits puberty, can make a big difference. While you are in the process of quitting, don’t smoke in front of your child, including in the car or anywhere in the house. Talk to them about how much you want to quit and why, and why it is so difficult.
Be Supportive and Help Them Quit
If your child is already smoking cigarettes, recognise that quitting is not easy. Simply forbidding them to smoke and telling them to stop will be unlikely to deliver the result you want. Instead, be supportive and recognise how hard it is to break a nicotine addiction. Work through the process with them and help them to quit permanently.
One tool you can use to quit which has been recommended by experts is e-cigarettes. E-cigarettes do not contain the deadly chemicals found in cigarettes, so by switching your teen will immediately stop damaging their health, then from there can transition to no nicotine at all. This is relatively easy to do (and much easier than going cold turkey) because the e-liquids used in e-cigarettes are available in a variety of nicotine strengths, meaning you can have your teen step down their addiction gradually over time. Use an eliquid calculator to help you to work out mixing ratios.
Stopping your teen from smoking is by no means easy. However, with the right approach you can go a long way to discouraging them from picking up this habit, and help them to break it if they do.