Teen smoking can become a lifelong habit. Help your teen resist that first puff.From MayoClinic.com
Teen smoking might begin innocently enough, but it can become a lifelong habit. In fact, most adult smokers began smoking as teenagers. Your best bet? Help your teen resist taking that first puff. These 10 tips can help.
- Understand the attraction. Sometimes teen smoking is a form of rebellion or a way to fit in with a particular group of friends. Some teens light up in an attempt to lose weight or to feel better about themselves. Others smoke to feel cool or independent. To know what you’re dealing with, ask your teen how he or she feels about smoking. Ask which of your teen’s friends smoke. Applaud your teen’s good choices, and talk about the consequences of bad choices.
- Say no to teen smoking. You may feel as if your teen doesn’t hear a word you say, but say it anyway. Tell your teen that smoking isn’t allowed. Your disapproval may have more impact than you think. In one study, teens who thought their parents would disapprove of them smoking were less than half as likely to smoke as those who thought their parents wouldn’t care.
- Set a good example. Teen smoking is more common among teens whose parents smoke. If you don’t smoke, keep it up. If you do smoke, quit — now. Ask your doctor about stop-smoking products and other ways to quit smoking. In the meantime, don’t smoke in the house, in the car or in front of your teen, and don’t leave cigarettes where your teen might find them. Explain how unhappy you are with your smoking and how difficult it is to quit.
- Appeal to your teen’s vanity. Smoking isn’t glamorous. Remind your teen that smoking is a dirty, smelly habit. Smoking gives you bad breath. Smoking makes your clothes and hair smell, and it turns your teeth yellow. Smoking can leave you with a chronic cough and less energy for sports and other activities you enjoy.
- Do the math. Smoking is expensive. Help your teen calculate the weekly, monthly or yearly cost of a pack-a-day smoking habit. You might compare the cost of smoking with electronic gadgets, clothes or other teen essentials.
- Expect peer pressure. Friends who smoke can be convincing — but you can give your teen the tools he or she needs to refuse cigarettes. Rehearse how to handle tough social situations. It might be as simple as, “No thanks, I don’t smoke.” The more your teen practices this basic refusal, the more likely he or she will say no at the moment of truth.
- Take addiction seriously. Most teens believe they can quit smoking anytime they want. But teens become just as addicted to nicotine as do adults, often quickly and at relatively low doses of nicotine. And once you’re hooked, it’s tough to quit. Consider this: Of adolescents who’ve smoked at least 100 cigarettes, the American Lung Association reports that most would like to quit but are unable to do so.
- Predict the future. Teens tend to assume that bad things only happen to other people. But the long-term consequences of smoking — such as cancer, heart attack and stroke — may be all too real when your teen becomes an adult. Use loved ones, friends or neighbors who’ve been ill as real-life examples.
- Think beyond cigarettes. Smokeless tobacco, clove cigarettes (kreteks) and candy-flavored cigarettes (bidis) are sometimes mistaken as less harmful or addictive than traditional cigarettes. Hookah smoking — smoking tobacco through a water pipe — is another alternative sometimes touted as safe. Don’t let your teen be fooled. Like traditional cigarettes, these products are addictive and can cause cancer and other health problems. Many deliver higher concentrations of nicotine, carbon monoxide and tar than do traditional cigarettes.
- Get involved. Take an active stance against teen smoking. Participate in local and school-sponsored anti-smoking campaigns. Support bans on smoking in public places.
If your teen has already started smoking, avoid threats and ultimatums. Instead, be supportive. Find out why your teen is smoking — and then discuss ways to help your teen stop smoking, such as hanging out with friends who don’t smoke or getting involved in new activities. Stopping teen smoking in its tracks is the best thing your teen can do for a lifetime of good health.Tags: bans, cigar, flavor, Health Tips, nicotine, RUYAN
What does this tool measure?
Click here to find out how much smoking is costing you.
This interactive tool calculates how much money you have spent on cigarettes in the past or how much you will spend on them in the future. When computing future costs, this calculator does not take into account inflation or the rising cost of cigarettes or the taxes on them. The actual amount you spend will be higher.
Although you may be surprised at how much you spend on cigarettes over a period of time, smoking costs even more when you consider illnesses caused by smoking. The more cigarettes you smoke and the longer you smoke, the more costs will accumulate from smoking-related medical problems such as lung cancer, heart disease, or emphysema.
Perhaps most importantly, this tool can’t calculate the costs that aren’t measured in dollars. Smoking will eventually cost you time and will take a toll on your quality of life, and it will likely have an impact on the people you care about.Tags: cigar, Health Tips, medical
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