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Teens and Smoking - Why and What Can a Parent Do?

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Quick Links: Teen Drug Use | Tobacco and Teen Smoking

Smoking is a bad habit. It causes lung cancer, depression, and is addictive. These are well known facts. So why are our teens into trying a puff? Why do they feel that the need is so great that they go behind our backs, just to have a cigarette. I am definitely not just speaking about the teens who test every limit imaginable, I am also speaking about the teens who normally would shun such behavior. So, what is going on?

As a parent of teens, I have often wondered about this. It seems that what ever I did, smoking was looked at as a 'right of passage' to my teens. It was as if they thought, "Hey, look at me. I can do this so I'm more adult." Where do they get this line of thinking? How can we stop it? Here are three reasons teens try smoking, and what you can do about it.

Firstly, if you smoke, STOP! 'Do as I say, not as I do', never works!!! Enough said.

The second reason teens start is Peer Pressure. Acceptance among peers is a powerful motivation factor for a teen. This can work for a parent and against a parent.

Here's how to get it to work for you. Get to know your teen's friends, get to know their parents on a first name basis, take the friend with you on a family outing, plan an activity at home for your teen and their friends. The more you accept your teen's friends, the more likely they are going to talk to you about what is going on with them. Yes, you are going to have to grit your teeth more than once, but it works. Also, help your teen fight against peer pressure. You still do have that ability, remember you're their security blanket.

The third reason, and I believe the biggest reason, is cigarette ads. They are everywhere!!!

Let them know that they can't have cigarettes in the house. When you see them, throw them away. Don't harp on them, just throw them out. If your teen throws a fit, let him. If it happens again ----auto-rewind, repeat. They will get the message.

Tell your teen you can't stand the smell of smoke. Tell them that they stink and you are going to refuse to do their laundry. Make Friday night their laundry night. All their laundry needs to be done before they can do anything. If this doesn't stop them, at least they are learning a responsibility.

Offer to get them the patch. Not the gum, it tastes awful. (My teens made me try it. YUK!!)

Quick Links: Teen Drug Use | Tobacco and Teen Smoking

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