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How to Prevent Your Child From Trying Smoking

Every year fewer and fewer teenagers smoke according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Parents play a large role in preventing teen smoking.

You can help keep your teenager from picking up the habit by clearly communicating the dangers of smoking. Encourage your teen to live a smoke-free lifestyle using these tactics:

  1. Don’t smoke. Though it may not seem like it, children and teens model their behavior off of their parents. If you smoke, your teen is more likely to smoke. If you do smoke, quit and enlist your teen’s help in quitting so they understand how important it is to never smoke.
  2. Communicate how bad smoking is at an early age. Start teaching your kids about the bad side of smoking around age five. This helps them set up healthy attitudes about smoking. As they get older, you can start explaining in more detail the negative side of smoking.
  3. Educate yourself on smoking. Find out more about the negative effects of smoking on your heart, lungs, teeth, skin and finances. The more you know, the more you can teach your children. You may also discover information that you feel will best convince your children. For instance, teenagers may be less likely to smoke if they find out it makes you wrinkle at an earlier age or makes it harder to play sports.
  4. Boost their self-confidence. Kids who feel secure and self confident are less likely to feel pressured to smoke by peers or advertising. They will also be less likely to rebel and smoke if they feel you treat them with respect and trust.

If you suspect your child has tried smoking, or is smoking on a regular basis, resist the urge to overreact and focus instead on communicating the reasons smoking is never a good choice. Remind them of the positives of being smoke-free, including improved appearance, better athletic fitness, less money spent and freedom from addiction. If your child needs help quitting smoking, talk to their doctor about support and treatment plans.

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