It’s up to us as parents to help our children understand from an early age that smoking is dangerous and deadly. As parents, we have more influence on our children than anyone else, so start the dialogue with your child early, and mention your feelings about smoking often. Let them know how serious the addiction to nicotine is and educate them about the risks associated with smoking. Condition them to have a healthy hatred for smoking. The more you can do early on in your child’s development to turn them away from smoking, the better their chances will be of avoiding it altogether.
Tips for talking to young children:
- Speak directly about the risks associated with smoking. If you have friends or relatives who have died of a smoking-related illness, share the truth about it with your child.
- Help your kids develop a healthy self-image. If they feel confident and sure of themselves, they’ll be better able to resist social pressure to smoke.
- Discuss ways that they can say no to smoking. Help them prepare for situations by running through potential scenarios they might experience with friends. Do a little role playing. Ask questions like “What would you do if your best friend asked you to smoke?” Help them come up with ways to say no without losing friends.
- Let your child know that smoking in movies and on TV is NOT cool. Seeing their favorite stars smoking can have be very influential to a young person, so be aware of what your child is watching and be ready to counteract it..
- Develop respiratory problems such as asthma and coughing.
- Have trouble with athletic performance. Lung capacity is affected, along with endurance.
- Have yellowed teeth. Tobacco stains teeth and causes bad breath.
- Stink! Cigarette smoke clings to clothing, and the smell of stale smoke is strong and unpleasant.
- Use other drugs such as alcohol, marijuana and cocaine.
- Become addicted to tobacco and find it very difficult to quit.
Remember! Your input is important. Help your child build a foundation that will keep them smoke free for life. Let them know early and let them know often that smoking is destructive and deadly. Set them up for a healthy life by educating them young about the dangers of smoking.
Some information for this article obtained from www.4woman.gov