Smokers are plagued with bad breath, smelly clothes and the potential for a host of health problems. By teaching kids the importance of not smoking at an early age, you can help them combat the peer pressure they may face in middle school, high school and beyond. Present the cold, hard facts, including smoke-related deaths such as disease and home fires, as well as ways to say “no” if they’re asked to try.
Smoke as a Child, Smoke as an Adult
The nicotine inside of cigarettes is addictive, so much so that many adults try cigarettes as children and continue their habits well into adulthood. Kids Health, an online site for families, notes that 90 percent of adult smokers picked up their habit as kids.
Why People Get Addicted
Nicotine–the addictive drug contained inside of cigarettes–wreaks havoc, causing people who try cigarettes to become dependent on them. The National Institute on Drug Abuse describes nicotine as a drug that’s absorbed through the bloodstream by people using products with nicotine in them or people inhaling smoke from products that contain nicotine.
It’s More Than Cigarettes
Teach your children that cigarettes aren’t the only culprit when it comes to the addictive nature of nicotine. Other tobacco products such as cigars, tobacco used in pipes and the kind that’s chewed are also risky. Each of these is dangerous and unsafe for children and adults.
Stay Away From Smoke, Stay Healthy
Regarded as one of the leading causes of deadly diseases such as cancer, heart and lung disease, cigarettes can be detrimental to your health, regardless of your age. People who smoke may also experience frequent coughing, emphysema and bronchitis, and cigarette smoke can be especially be harmful to pregnant women and their babies.
Even smoke-free kids encounter other children and adults who opt to smoke in their presence, exposing them to secondhand smoke. PBS Kids reports that secondhand smoke can cause lung cancer and lung infections in humans and can cause leukemia in pets.
Ways to Say “No”
Kids are often faced with tough decisions when they are pressured by their peers to try smoking. With an education on the risks associated with smoking, children stand a better chance of not giving into peer pressure. PBS Kids suggests that kids just say “no,” but if simply saying “no” doesn’t work, kids can say they don’t like the smell of smoke, say they don’t want to harm their bodies or admit that if their parents find out they were smoking, they’ll get into trouble. Teach your kids that saying “no” is OK and that their real friends will understand the decision not to smoke.