Tobacco Prevention and Cessation
Adolescents start using tobacco for different reasons. Parents can protect a child against
experimentation by maintaining a close parent-child relationship, teaching
skills for dealing with peer influence, and helping a child be successful
in his or her activities and academic achievement.
SUPPORT POSITIVE ACTIVITIES: Help
your child learn how to enjoy age-appropriate hobbies, friends, and physical
activity . Make time to get your child hooked up with activities he or she
is interested in.
TALK: Make a point of discussing
your children's lives and feelings. Find out whether their friends are experimenting
with tobacco. Talk with your child about positive ways to deal with fears,
anxiety, popularity, etc.
HELP THEM DECODE ADS: Begin
early. Children can imitate behaviors they view on TV as early as 18 months.
Help identify images portrayed in ads ads (clean air, thin bodies, independent
men and women, young people having fun). Discuss other behaviors and skills
that can make a person feel good, look good, enjoy their friends, or be
MAKE YOUR FEELINGS CLEAR:
Children who understand the seriousness of their parents opposition to tobacco
are less likely to smoke.
DO REALITY CHECKS: Point out that, despite the
ads, the majority of adults and teens do not smoke and no longer tolerate
the practice in public. Talk about the serious health effects of tobacco
addiction. Talk about what could be purchased with $1600 (the cost of a
pack-a-day for one year).
EMPHASIZE HEALTH: Kids are typically unconcerned
about getting sick; tell them anyway. Teen smokers have weaker lungs, cough
more, and suffer worse upper respiratory infections. Young athletes don't
perform as well if they smoke. The more a young person smokes, the greater
is the risk of lung cancer in middle age.
DON'T SMOKE: If you smoke or chew tobacco and
choose not to quit soon, at least explain to your children that you are
physically addicted . Do not model smoking in front of your children and
make your home and automobiles smoke-free zones. If you and your child are
smokers, think about quitting together.
IMPOSE CONSEQUENCES: If you find your child
experimenting with cigarettes, treat it as an act that puts your child at
very high risk of developing a life threatening addiction. Impose whatever
sanctions your family uses as a major misdeed, and don't back down.