5 Ways to Discourage Your Kids From Smoking (Even if You’re Currently a Smoker)

Are you worried about your kids smoking? There is some good news and some bad news.

First, let’s start with the good news. Teenagers aren’t smoking nearly as much as they were in the 1980s and 1990s. In 2015, only 9.3% of high schoolers reported that they smoked cigarettes within the last 30 days. That figure was almost four times higher before the turn of the century.

Unfortunately, smoking is still a temptation that teenagers struggle with. It can be even harder to set a good influence for them if you smoke yourself. You should let that discourage you, though. There are some steps that you can take to discourage your teenager from using cigarettes, even if you are still a smoker yourself.

Some important steps are listed below.

Don’t Resign Yourself To The Misconception That You Don’t Have Any Influence Over Your Teenagers

Many parents have a very hands-off approach to raising their teenage children. They often use some variation of the following excuse: “My kid won’t want to listen to me. If I tell them not to smoke, do drugs, or wear inappropriate clothes, then they will just do it more. I should just stay out of it.”

This cynical attitude is often held by parents that just want to rationalize their decision to be lazy and shirk their parenting responsibilities. Unless you have been extremely critical or overcontrolling in the past, your child probably respects your views a lot more than they will ever admit.

You should use your influence to set a positive example. You should tell your kid that you don’t want them to smoke cigarettes.

Of course, if you are a smoker yourself, then you need to emphasize this in a way that won’t make you sound like a hypocrite. You might want to talk about ways that smoking has created complications in your own life. You can mention that you have trouble exercising and don’t like the way that you smell. You can also mention that you can’t taste food as well as you used to.

Don’t Let Them Think That Any Form Of Smoking Is Acceptable

There were fewer temptations back in the 1990s when cigarettes were pretty much the only thing that kids could smoke. There are a lot more alternatives today, such as vapes and hookah. You should discourage kids from smoking anything. They need to know that all forms of smoking carry the risk of heart and lung disease.

Try To Quit Smoking Yourself

The best way to discourage your teenager from smoking is by quitting smoking yourself. An estimated 85% of people that want to quit smoking are successful. You might have an easier time if you use tobacco alternatives, such as smokeless tobacco from Black Buffalo or CBD products like these.

Get Them To Think About The Stigma That Smoking Can Cause

Peer pressure is still sadly a problem in 2020. Kids might smoke so they can feel that they fit in. They might be more inclined to smoke if they think it will make them feel cool.

Fortunately, you might be able to use their desire for social inclusion to your advantage. You may have an easier time helping them stand up to peer pressure if they see that there are also social drawbacks with smoking. You can talk to them about how they will smell afterward and how bad their breath will be. You can also mention premature wrinkles and the fact that cigarettes will make their skin and teeth turn yellow.

As a smoker yourself, you can get your spouse and friends to help get this point across through a little improv. You might encourage your spouse to make a seemingly offhanded comment about not wanting to be affectionate with you right after smoking, because of the smell. You could also ask your friends to say something like: “Did you start smoking a new brand of cigarettes? I’m not going to lie, it smells a bit strong on you.”

Make sure that your teenager overhears these comments. They might feel self-conscious about the idea of smoking themselves if they see how people react to the smell.

Come Up With Sensible Responses To Peer Pressure

The whole “Just Say No“ campaign of the 1980s was a failure. Kids can’t easily say no when they are thinking of the social repercussions of not keeping to peer pressure.

You don’t want to encourage them to protect against peer pressure in a way that they won’t be able to follow through with. Telling them to be morally upright with their peers probably won’t work, because they will fear that they will be left out.

Instead, you should come up with better excuses for them to use. You might want to have them mention that they work out regularly and need to stay in shape. They could also talk about having asthma, which their peers would probably understand. You could also encourage them to just say that they don’t like the smell that you bring home as a parent, which turned them off to the idea.

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