Why is my teen smoking? How can I convince my teen to stop smoking?
Teen smoking might begin innocently, but it can become a long-term problem. In fact, most adult smokers started smoking as teens. In order to dissuade your teen from smoking or even starting this habit, first you have to examine why young people begin smoking.
Why do teens smoke cigarettes?
- Desire to fit in with friends. Peer pressure – bonding.
- Monkey see, monkey do. Copying their older siblings or parents.
- It’s on the screens! Imitating actors or models with appealing images in the movies, video games or social media.
- They want to assert their independence.
- They believe they appear to be more sophisticated or grown-up.
- Simple curiosity.
Stopping or preventing your teen from smoking
It is not always possible for parents to prevent their child or teen from trying cigarettes, but the use of various strategies can reduce the likelihood of a teen wanting to smoke and doing so regularly.
1. Set a good example. Teen smoking is more common among teens whose parents smoke. Research shows that children are less likely to smoke if their primary role models do not smoke. If you need help quitting, ask your doctor for ways to quit and ask your teen for their support too. In the meantime, don’t smoke in front of your kids and don’t leave smoking materials around your home.
2. Just say no to smoking. Take a strong stand against smoking. Don’t allow people to smoke in your house or in your car and don’t send your teen to buy your cigarettes. Let your teen know know smoking or vaping is not allowed. Studies have shown teens do want boundaries and rules.
3. Peer pressure challenges. Equip your teen with the tools they need to deal with peer pressure when they are faced with tough situations.
Actually rehearse how to handle difficult social conversations. It could be as simple as saying, “No thanks, I don’t smoke.” Or have them use you as the excuse, “If my mom or dad catches me (or smells smoke on me), I’ll lose my phone privileges.” Teens understand the language of having their devices revoked.
4. Crushing the appeal. Some teens turn to smoking as a form of rebellion or way to fit in with a particular group of kids. Teens may smoke to feel cool or independent. Help your teen to understand how tobacco companies influence ideas about smoking–such as through advertisements or product placements in movies that creates a perception of sexy or glamorous.
Smoking actually can leave you with:
- Bad breathe
- Stained teeth and fingers
- Unattractive to the majority of others (non-smoking peers)
- Reduced fitness levels
- Wasting money on cigarettes that could be used on clothes, music or other items
- Tough to quit the addiction of nicotine once you have formed the habit
Talk to your teen early and often about the dangers of smoking and vaping. Avoiding smoking is one of the best things your teen can do for a lifetime of good health.