Posted On September 9, 2015

When your teenage son or daughter starts smoking, it’s the greatest challenge before you as a parent. Your adolescent boy who is addicted to tobacco today will become a chain smoker tomorrow. As per a survey conducted by the National Sample Survey Organization by the Government of India, approximately 20 million children in the age bracket of 10-14 years are tobacco obsessed. The incidence of smoking among male school and college goers vary from 6.9 percent to 22.5 percent.  Therefore, if you notice that your young girl or boy is taking a drag every now and then, it’s time to think seriously. Exercise tact rather than coercion to stop teen tobacco cravings.  

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Here are three ways you can help them kick the cancer sticks:

1. Be a Role Model

Children learn things from their parents. Teens have an extremely impressionable mind. They often try to imitate what they have seen you doing as a parent. You are the most influential person in your child’s life, so your action definitely speaks louder than words. As a parent, if you cannot resist the deadly puffs, do not expect your son or daughter to do so. To be their role model, take the first step by not smoking in the house, in their presence when watching television or when traveling in a car together. Avoid leaving packs of cigarettes on the bedside table where your youngster can easily access them.

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2. Warn Tactfully

Blame the hormones, adolescents often tend to have an extremely low patience level. They abhor anything ‘preachy’ so do not sermonize them about the ill effects of tobacco. Instead, discreetly get in touch with a non-profit organization that helps de-addict smokers. Participate in one of their social drives and take your kid out with them to a care centre or hospital in order to interact with patients affected with lung or any kind of oral cancer resulted out of smoking. Kids will get the warning themselves without you having to say anything. On your way back, chat up with your kid on how these people would have lived longer, happier and healthier had they kicked the butt on time. If you do not want to take such extreme measures, you can even have light-hearted discussions at home with your teenage kid on how smoking results in bad body odor, makes fingernails yellow, stains teeth, causes hacking cough and lowers a person’s energy to participate in sports and other co-curricular activities in schools or colleges.

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3. Celebrate the Success of a Smoke-Free Day

When your teen son or daughter is able to shun cigarettes for a day, celebrate the success. Take your child out for a lip-smacking dinner at his favorite restaurant. You can even gift him a T-shirt for remaining smoke-free for a day. Eventually, when he quits completely, let him visit a water-theme park with his non-smoking friends. Positive attitude, continuous support and rewards will motivate your teen to quit successfully. 

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