Smoking is a potentially deadly habit that most parents hope their teens never pick up; however, despite parents’ best efforts, some teens fall victim to the temptation of smoking. Whether as the result of peer pressure or in an attempt to assert their maturity, some teens opt to begin this addictive practice and, once started, find it challenging to quit. While solving the problem of teen smoking is by no means a simple one, there are things that can be done to reduce the likelihood that teens begin to smoke.
It appears that the war against teen smoking is having an impact on the number of teens who pick up the habit, reports a 2008 University of Michigan study. This research found that teen smoking rates, which had been dropping for several years prior to 2008, reached a record low during this year. While the exact reason for this desirable drop can not be determined, many attribute the reduced numbers of teen smokers to campaigns against teen smoking and better education on the impact of smoking upon teen health in school.
Communication is Key
The best thing parents who want their children to steer clear of cigarettes can do is communicate this desire with their teens, reports MayoClinic.com. Many parents mistakenly assume that their teens already know that they don’t want them to pick up the smoking habit and fail to explicitly state this desire. Instead of keeping your mouth shut about your abhorrence of smoking, make it abundantly clear to your child and encourage your teen to turn to you instead of his friends should he have any questions about smoking.
One tool in the war against smoking that has proven effective in reducing teen smoking is written pledging, reports KidsHealth. Many schools and other community organizations ask teens to sign pledges in which they state that they will resist the urge to smoke. They then plaster these pledges in a public place, allowing them to serve as a symbol of anti-smoking solidarity, making it clear to teens that, while some may argue that everyone is smoking, the vast majority is against the dangerous habit.
Positive Peer Pressure
Just as peer pressure can cause teens to pick up smoking, it can also keep them away from the habit. Many schools and organizations are taking advantage of the impact that peer pressure can have upon teens by encouraging teens to talk with each other about smoking and work together to prevent teen smoking numbers from continuing to rise. Often, the voices of fellow teens speak louder than those of adults and prove to teens that smoke-free is the way to be.
Parents of teens who have already developed the smoking habit can also use positive peer pressure to their advantage, encouraging the teen’s friends to join with them in getting the teen to quit and stay quit.
Teen Smoking Triggers
For teens who have already started to smoke, smoking triggers can keep them lighting up. Many teens begin smoking in social situations, when stressed or while drinking. Parents who want to help their teens quit may experience more success if they help their teen identify their smoking triggers and encourage them to avoid these smoke-inducing situations.