Smoking Doesn’t Bring Distinction – Helping Children Abstain

“Cigarettes were at first regarded as an exclusively Turkish product and addiction to them was accounted as a mark of personal distinction.”

That statement appeared in the New York Times on February 8, 1883.

Times have changed and we have learned a great deal more about cigarettes including why children turn to cigarettes and what parents can do to help them abstain from a deadly addiction.

We’ve learned . . .

60% of smokers begin smoking prior to 13 years of age.

90% of smokers begin smoking by the age of 20.

Each day, 6,000 children begin smoking; 2,000 will continue to smoke.

Teenagers become addicted to nicotine faster than adult counterparts, and on lower levels of nicotine.

What you can do . . .

Start talking early and talk often.

The more you talk to your children about a wide range of topics, the easier it is to have conversations that matter. Talking about smoking and not smoking – matters.

Get to know your child’s friends and parents.

When parents know the parents of their child’s friends, a network is built that allows kids to talk openly with any parent about what they have experienced and parents can talk openly with one another.

Encourage your children to participate in extracurricular activities.

Children who have higher self-esteem tend to abstain from tobacco more so than those with lower self-esteem. If your child’s self-image is not great, find positive activities that highlight your child’s strengths to boost his or her esteem. Participating in those same activities will also build a stronger relationship between you and your child.

Be involved in your child’s education.

Know what your child is learning, how she is learning, and where her stressors are in school. Working on challenging subjects will help your child gain greater confidence.

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s blog post from Doc. G of AskDocG. She’s offering up some great advice and easy-to-implement techniques to keep tomorrow’s future away from tobacco today.

Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/nperlapro/

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