New Delhi: There comes a phase in every parent’s life when their kids start becoming seriously addicted to smoking very quickly and what starts as a “first experiment with cigarettes” or “peer pressure over smoking”, becomes a very dangerous addiction.
Teens are extremely vulnerable to social and environmental influences encouraging the use of tobacco. And in addition to that, tobacco companies spend huge amount of money on tobacco advertising and it can be a tedious challenge for any parent to keep their child stay cigarette-free, says Sayeed Johar, pulmonologist, Credihealth.
Every one in 10 high school students smoke and each day about 2500 teens try their first cigarette and another 1000 kids under 18 years of age become new daily smokers and roughly one-third of them die prematurely from smoking-caused disease.
On World No Tobacco Day 2017- A threat to development, as a parent, you can play your part in preventing teens from smoking. Being a good parent and role model is important but it takes much more than that to protect your kids from becoming addicted smokers.
Someone who starts smoking as a very young teen will have a far more difficult time quitting and can have more serious health-related problems.
So, it’s very important for parents to dissuade them and help them realize the negative effects and health dangers of smoking.
Here are some prevention tips for parents to help their child stay tobacco-free:
1. Be a good anti-tobacco role model: If you don’t smoke, don’t start and if you do, then quit, as smoking is more common among teens whose parents smoke. A parent who successfully quits sends a strong positive message to their kids. It shows your kids how much you care about them.
2. Talk money: It’s a fact that teens are the big buyers of modern gadgets with whatever money they have. Explaining the high cost of tobacco products and the effect it will have on their other purchasing power might be a reality check for them.
3. Make your home stress free: Try to minimize stress at home which may trigger your teen to take up smoking
4. Set your home smoke-free: Set limits that no one- be it you, friends, guest, or your kid can smoke inside the home. This will help control everyone’s smoking behaviours
5. Understand the influence & attraction: Teens start smoking to rebel or in a peer pressure or to fit in with a particular group. Ask your kid about how he/she feels about it and talk about the consequences.
6. Help your teen to quit: When you talk to your teen about quitting smoking, ask if they have tried it earlier and why they weren’t successful. Help him to make a quit plan-
a. Ask him to write reasons why to quit
b. Set a quit date
c. Ask him to hang out with those who don’t smoke
d. Prepare them for craving
e. Consider stop-smoking products
7. Be considerate: If your teen makes progress or even when he slips, be supportive. Congratulate them on their progress and encourage not to give up. It is equally important for you to not give up.
8. Offer a giveaway for smoke-free day: Parents are the biggest influence in the lives of their kids and it’s never too late or early to start warning your kids against smoking and other forms of tobacco use.