Teenage smoking is a problem of grand proportions because most people who get hooked onto cigarettes in their teens have trouble quitting as adults. Various researches into why teenagers smoke show that since teens tend to feel social pressures twice as much as adults they are bound to become smokers. Moreover, the glorification of smoking in the media also plays its part in the problem. So what can you, a parent, do to protect your teen from the health problems caused by smoking?
Most teens get attracted to smoking under the false pretence that it makes them look sophisticated, mature, and attractive. It is important to educate teenagers about how “unsexy and uncool” smoking really is. To begin with, quit smoking if you are a smoker and lead by example. Comment negatively on teens you see smoking in real life, on TV or in the movies. Make your dislike for smoking as verbal and loud as possible for your teen.
The state of Florida has the "Truth" campaign, sponsored by the Florida Tobacco Pilot Program in which beautiful bikini clad models on smoking billboards were replaced by male tobacco executives wearing bikinis with the "Truth" logo. The campaigns target market were teens. And they got the message loud and clear since the campaign was a huge success.
2. Financial Crunch
Thanks to the efforts of the state and local groups around the country, smoking is now an extremely expensive habit to have. Over the past decade there has been rapid growth in laws and taxes against smoking and on cigarettes.
Most of the states have raised taxes on cigarettes by almost 10% which has turned cigarettes into a luxury product and well beyond the reach of most teens. So if you have even a fleeting suspicion that your teen may be inclined towards smoking, reduce their allowance, if talking is having no effect. The less money a teen has, the more chances it will be spent of frugal addictions like cigarettes.
3. Get Their Blood Pumping
There isn’t a single expert in this field who will not agree that those who are physically active are less inclined to take up smoking. The biggest fact about tobacco for kids is that: cigarette smoke contains carbon monoxide, tar, and fifteen known carcinogens which paralyzes the cilia in your lungs making you more susceptible to infections and illness. The American Lung Association’s Not-On-Tobacco program, recently shared findings which clearly demonstrate that teenage subjects of the study, who were engaged in intense physical activities, were less likely to start smoking and more likely to quit successfully, than those who were only lectured on the pros and cons of smoking.
4. Smoking and Vanity
According to a survey, most female teens take up smoking as a way of keeping their weight in check. Although cigarettes suppress hunger pangs and stimulate the metabolism, what most female smokers don’t know is that smoking doubles the aging process of their skin. Smoking kills the collagen and elastin which results in premature aging and wrinkles. Apart from this smoking is responsible for bad breath, yellow teeth and smelly hair. If this isn’t good enough, then maybe this can help your teen sit up and take notice:
In Nebraska "scare tactics" were used to deliver the message. A teen who lost half his face due to cancer from chewing tobacco was invited to talk to students in various schools. At each school by the end of the day, several students and teachers had decided to quit.
5. Rest of Their Lives
Teen and kids need maximum amount of sleep and rest to be able to perform normally in routine life. Tell your teen about the effects of cigarettes on their sleep. Smokers tend to experience dramatically less restful sleep, meaning that they might be sleeping a lot but it may not be as refreshing as that of a non-smoker. Secondly, if your teen tells you that smoking relieves stress, tell them that almost all researches into this matter have proven that nicotine actually increases stress and anxiety.
Remember, no amount of laws, taxes and anti-smoking campaigns and programs can work if the individual is not convinced enough to make the decision of staying away from smoking or quitting themselves. So as a parent do your best to educate and convince your teens about the negative effects of smoking on almost every aspect of their lives.