Over the past three decades more and more adults are quitting smoking. This is a great revolution which hopefully will continue. While we are celebrating our success we are often overlooking a major smoking factor; our teens are beginning to pick up the habit. Since they are not going to smoke in front of you they may already be addicted to nicotine before you find out they smoke. Studies show that many under-age smokers light up as early as the eighth grade. This means they could very well be addicted to nicotine before they graduate. Many teenagers start smoking because they see their parents smoke at home. Teenagers look at their parents as being adult and they aspire to be more like them. Others light up because one of their friends encourages them. It is much harder to say no to friends than it is to parents. They might not enjoy that first cigarette but because their friends sat it is cool they will try again. It doesn’t take long for addiction to take hold.
Stop Smoking – A Worthy Battle
Everyday we hear somebody say “just stop smoking”. This is an easy statement to make for someone who has never smoked. People who have never smoked do not understand the powerful addiction caused by nicotine. Also, how can we tell our teens to stop smoking if we smoke ourselves? The best deterrent for teens is simply education and support. Parents need to take a realistic look at their teen’s lives. Who are their friends, what do they do for entertainment? Get to know their friends and accept them. Offer education on the dangers of smoking; get graphic with pictures if you have to. Encourage them to talk to you about the pressure they are under. Let them know you don’t intend to punish them. The fear of punishment will only discourage them from being honest with you.
There are some alarming factors associated with teenage smoking. Many of them start as early as the eight grade and over half of high school students have at least tried cigarettes. The chance of premature death due to smoking is about five times higher than any other cause of death. Many smokers will die from smoking related causes as early as their twenties. If you find out your teen is addicted to nicotine help them get the tools they need to stop smoking. There are many programs and smoking cessation aids available for you to choose from. If you smoke, it is important that you also put forth the effort to stop. The greatest success comes with a good support system. Exercise and good nutrition help to teach a healthy lifestyle.
If you want to help your teen to stop smoking you have to help them understand the dangers and risks. If they fall off the wagon, be there to help them get up and start again. By helping them through the stop smoking process you will be helping them to add many years to their lives.