Whether you are a smoker or nonsmoker, if you have children you likely have worried about them picking up bad habits that affect their health, such as smoking. Try some of these tips to discourage smoking in a positive way.
- Set a good example and do not smoke yourself. If you smoke, keep trying to quit until you are successful. Just as with good nutrition and physical activity, modeling (or “do as I do”) is the most powerful way to teach your children healthy behaviors.
- Establish a smoke-free zone in your house, and do not allow anyone to smoke indoors.
- Explain the health hazards of smoking and the unpleasant effects that teens can relate to, such as bad breath, yellow teeth and the stale smell on your clothes.
- Get to know your teen’s friends and if they smoke. Discuss with your teen how to refuse a cigarette.
- If your teen is smoking, try to avoid threats and ultimatums. Find out why he or she is smoking—maybe to fit in, to get your attention or to lose weight. Offer suggestions on how to achieve these goals without smoking.
- Be patient until your teen is ready to quit. Offer resources and support as he or she attempts to quit smoking.
What About e-Cigarettes & Vaping?
Electronic cigarettes – also known as vaping or nicotine vapor products – are becoming more and more popular, especially among young people. In fact, many young people do not consider e-cigarettes to be smoking at all or to carry health risks, even though concerns have been raised that nicotine vapor products could be a “gateway” to smoking. Because most lifetime tobacco smokers start before they turn 18, some healthcare professionals worry that exposing adolescents to nicotine in any form is a step toward addiction that raises the likelihood that they could become lifelong smokers.
For more information about e-cigarettes, including questions to ask your family’s healthcare providers, click here.
If your teen has started smoking, or if there is someone else in your life you’d like to support through the challenge of quitting, take a few minutes to read our tips for helping your quitter become a winner.
And for more tools to help with quitting smoking, visit the SecondsCount Quitting Smoking Center.