Tobacco companies have been shifting their focus slowly towards a more naive market i.e. teens and kids. Marketing research shows that 60% of smokers start smoking when they are younger than 13 and 90% before the age of 20. This makes tweens and teens the most lucrative segment of the market for tobacco industries. Some of the techniques tobacco companies are using to attract this age group are :
- Portraying smoking as an illicit pleasure and a rite of passage.
- Making cigarettes a sign of rebellion, freedom, masculinity for boys and sophistication for girls.
- Advertising in publications which are commonly picked and read by teens.
- Making use of figures like Joe Camel, who according to a survey is as well recognized by children as Mickey Mouse.
This is where you as a parent can take action and protect your children from the harmful effects of smoking. Teenage smokers statistics show that 90% of all smokers started smoking in their teens. Each day almost 6,000 children and teens start smoking, out of these 2,000 will continue smoking. And if these numbers are to be believed, it means 6.4 million children will die prematurely due to smoking-related disease.
So how do you free your teen from the clutches of the tobacco industry?
The first step toward helping your teen to stop smoking is to know all the answers yourself also. So get to know as much as you can:
- Get to know the statistics about smoking, health and teen.
- Identify the ways and techniques through which the tobacco industry is targeting your teen- Point them out.
- Know all the support programs and help lines available in your area to help stop teen smoking and start participating in them.
- Get involved in your teens life and daily routine. Get to know their friends and where they hang out.
- Encourage your teen to participate in school events and actively pursue sports and physical activities.
- Be open about discussing the challenges of dodging the temptation of smoking. Help the teen relate to you by admitting how tough it is for a smoker to quit smoking.
- Discuss various strategies of quitting and dealing with the anxiety caused by withdrawal.
- Understand that if they quit smoking side effects will be hard to deal with, especially if they were chain smokers.
- Most importantly, take steps to enhance your teens self image and self confidence, since anxious or depressed teens tend to fall into such temptations a lot more easily.
In the end, remember that those who play a sport and have an active life style tend to have a better body image. According to the Center for Disease Control, increased physical activity has shown to dramatically reduce cravings for smoking.