Help Your Teen Quit Smoking
Teens who smoke become adults who smoke. 90 percent of adults
who are regular smokers began smoking before the age of 18.
Most teens don’t fully understand the risks associated with
smoking or how difficult it will be to quit. The average person who started
smoking as a teen will smoke for 16 to 20 years before being able to successfully
Don't Get Angry
If you discover that your teen is smoking, it is important to
talk openly and calmly about it. Anger and threats won’t convince anyone to
quit—especially a teenager.
Instead, it is better to remain calm and ask questions. Find out
how your child started smoking and why they continue to do it. You will be
better prepared to tackle the problem when you understand why your teenager
picked up a cigarette in the first place—often, the reason will be that their friends
are doing it, that they think it looks cool, or because of simple curiosity. In
other cases, it can be because of stress at school or home.
After you find out what’s driving your teen to smoke, talk to
him or her about how the negative consequences outweigh any and all short-term “benefits.”
Talk about What Is Important to Teens
throw out statistics about cancer and lung disease all day, but those concerns
are not foremost in your teen’s mind. What they likely find more important are
their looks, their friends, being cool, and dating.
therefore be helpful to explain how the smell of smoke clings to hair and
clothes, causing the smoker to smell bad, which is not conducive to a
successful social life.
and cigarette smoke also cause bad breath and yellow teeth, which aren’t
attractive or cool to anyone. Smoking may also cause fatigue, so while friends
are watching a movie or enjoying a game, your teenager may be too exhausted to
leave the house.
Help Your Teen Make
plan, and be a central part of it. Help your teenager anticipate situations in
which he or she may be pressured to light up again, and help them script a
response so your child can turn down the cigarette without getting nervous.
feel like more help is needed, set up an appointment with a doctor or quitting
coach. Then celebrate as your teen reaches each milestone on the path to being