How do I keep my teen from smoking?
Real Mom Problem
“My son admitted that his friend was smoking and that he had taken a drag off a cigarette.”
- 1. Educate your kids on the dangers of smoking
- 2. Demonstrate the health effects of smoking by introducing them to people who suffer from emphysema, cancer, or other diseases
- 3. Be a good role model: don't smoke yourself, and try to quit if you have a smoking habit
- 4. Remind them that it's illegal for minors to buy cigarettes
Real Mom Solutions
Many teens are tempted to try smoking, so help them understand it's a nasty habit that's hard to quit before an addiction forms. See what these moms suggest you do if your teen wants to smoke cigarettes.
Educate Them About Smoking's Dangers
I would make your kids volunteer somewhere that requires them to see the effects of smoking. I grew up with a smoker and she is living with me now, so fortunately my kids see how it is for non-smokers to be around smokers and what it does to your life, your car, your clothes, and your belongings. Even though she is not allowed to smoke in the house, her belongings and room reek, and they get to see and smell it.
My children (ages 11 and 13) are well-versed on ALL of the hazards of smoking. They've seen pictures of diseased lungs, they've heard their grandfather's hacking cough, and they know their grandmother (who quit 30 years ago) was just diagnosed with emphysema.
I would be showing your kids what smoking is doing to their body. See if you can find an organization that may have samples of a smoker's lung and a healthy lung. Maybe enlist an elderly person at a retirement home to discuss the ailments they face due to smoking. I think with teens, just talking isn't enough for most of them. I think they need reality in their faces. I saw my grandfather get one of those voice box things due to cancer from smoking. That is scary to see someone go through. I never touched a cigarette.
My daughter was caught at school with a pack of cigarettes and was suspended. (They have a no-tolerance policy.) As part of her punishment, I signed her up for an alcohol and tobacco class. She had to attend once a week for six weeks straight. (This class was separate from her school and cut into her social time with her friends.) At the end of the six weeks, I sat her down and asked her if she had learned anything. She said she did and thanked me for making her go. She said it opened her eyes to things she did not know or understand before. I believe hearing the information from someone else, seeing the videos, and listening to a speaker (who has a tracheotomy due to throat cancer) really made an impression on her. We have not had any problems since and I honestly believe she has quit.
What I'd do is take your son to help cancer patients who smoked and show him the long-term health effects of smoking.
My teens have already been told how dangerous smoking is and how hard it is to quit, like any drug, so hopefully they'll never start.
Be a Good Role Model
Most important: be a good role model. If you don't want your kids to smoke, don't smoke yourself. Most teens (and I don't blame them) don't take well to the "do as I say, not as I do" mentality.
I am a positive role model. I don't smoke nor do I allow anyone to smoke in my house. My dad stopped smoking in the house when I was pregnant (I lived with my parents) and didn't let anyone smoke in the house. Sixteen years later still no one is allowed to smoke in the house and my dad quit.
My parents both smoked for decades, and so I grew up hating cigarettes. I've told my teenage daughter that I'm thankful every day that I chose not to smoke. I've never even tried it, never had any desire to. She knows that her grandpa died from health problems caused in part by smoking, even though he had quit some years before he died. My husband does not smoke either, and we do not allow anyone to smoke in our home. I hope that we're good role models for our kids as far as not smoking goes. It would break my heart if either of my kids were to smoke. They both have asthma, and so smoking would be especially bad for them, health-wise, too.
Neither my husband nor I smoke. I quit when I found out I was pregnant with my now 18-year-old daughter and didn't start again. So the good role model is there. We don't allow those who smoke to smoke in our house. It's only a matter of time before my mother is diagnosed with emphysema; her "smoker's cough" is horrid. So the discussion and education has always been around with my kids.