Studies have found that kids really do listen when parents advise them to avoid tobacco, drugs, and alcohol. Take some time to talk to your kids about the hazards of using tobacco; it can make a big difference in their lives.
Kids may not realize the hazards associated with all types of tobacco. Compared to kids who do not use tobacco, kids who do use tobacco may:
There are common myths among kids regarding tobacco use. Take some time to highlight the realities:
Studies show that movies, TV, and advertising do have an influence on kids who start smoking. Despite this, parents can be the greatest influence in their kids' lives. Here are some guidelines for helping keep your kids tobacco free:
Do not be afraid to talk about tobacco. Keep these simple tips in mind when you feel the time is right for conversation:
What if your child has already tried smoking? Do not be confrontational or set ultimatums. Dig a bit deeper and find out why your child is smoking. It may be easier to help your child quit. Remember that nicotine is addictive and you will need to take action quickly so that your can reduce the chances of your child becoming a habitual smoker.
You can take action outside of your home, too. For example:
American Academy of Pediatrics
American Lung Association
Canadian Cancer Society
The Lung Association
Hanewinkel R, Isensee B, Sargent JD, et al. Cigarette Advertising and Teen Smoking Initiation. Pediatrics. 2011;127(2):e271-280.
Sargent JD, Tanksi S, Stoolmiller M. Influence of Motion Picture Rating on Adolescent Response to Movie Smoking. Pediatrics. 2012;130(2):228-236.
Preventing Tobacco Use Among Youth and Young Adults. A Report of the Surgeon General. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/sgr/2012/consumer_booklet/pdfs/consumer.pdf. Accessed December 28, 2012.
Smoking. Kids Health website. Available at: http://kidshealth.org/teen/cancer_center/q_a/smoking.html#. Updated March 2010. Accessed December 28, 2012.
Stop Smoking. American Lung Association website. Available at: http://www.lung.org/stop-smoking/about-smoking/facts-figures/. Accessed December 28, 2012.
6/5/2009 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php : Dalton MA, Beach ML, Adachi-Mejia AM, et al. Early exposure to movie smoking predicts established smoking by older teens and young adults. Pediatrics. 2009;123(4):e551-558.
10/5/2009 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php : Kim MJ, Fleming CB, Catalano RF. Individual and social influences on progression to daily smoking during adolescence. Pediatrics. 2009 Aug 10. [Epub ahead of print]
Last reviewed December 2012 by Brian Randall, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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