Smoking is a habit that is detrimental for people across all ages. For kids, it starts as fun, becomes a habit and later an addiction. There are various trigger points like peer pressure which relate smoking to maturity and independence or just the urge to try out new things in life.
To prevent your kids from getting into this lifetime addiction, here’s what can help:
Discussion is key: Discuss with your children about smoking in a friendly way. Ask them how much they know about smoking and make them aware that smoking is harmful to them. Some parents ignore talking about this topic due to their own inhibitions, but it is always advised to have a healthy discussion to know their viewpoint on smoking.
Importance of saying No: When children are entering their teens, peer pressure is the maximum and most of them succumb to this. You must sit with them and encourage them to say no whenever they are asked for a smoke. In fact, as a parent you should practice with them saying “Sorry, I don’t smoke”.
Stress on the health issues: A lot of children think vaping (e-cigarettes) and other commonly used methods like candy cigarettes, water pipes (hookah) is safe. They should be made aware of the contrary. Talk with them about the serious health issues that can come up with smoking, preferably using real life examples. Make them understand the harmful effects of passive smoking as well, and they should avoid places where people are smoking.
Calculate the money: Do the math and make them calculate how much they spend on cigarettes and e-cigarettes, if taken daily. Then the number of cigarettes they will be smoking in a month and a year. Compare it to the things they can buy with that much amount of money like smartphones, dresses or anything else.
Understand the attraction: Some teens might smoke as a way to express rebellion. You must sit with them and explain them how advertising agencies make smoking look cool, glamorous, and sexy. Explain them that the perceptions created by them are false. And now even during the smoking related scenes on media, where they depict people smoking, it is always accompanied by a small caption on the screen “Cigarette Smoking is Injurious to Health”.
Set an example: If you are a smoking parent, it is advised that you stop smoking and set an example in front of them. It is advised to make them understand your challenges related to smoking. Do not keep any stuff related to smoking at home which is easily accessible to them. They might try it out of curiosity.
Even one cigarette harms: Make your children understand that even a single cigarette can make you get addicted to smoking. Hence, even trying for fun may lead to lifelong habit. Tell them that most of the adult smokers start as teens and quitting is a tough job.
If you as parents support your kids and discuss with them all the important issues related to smoking you can keep them away from smoking and give them a happy and healthy future.