10 Ways to Help Keep Your Teen from Smoking

10 Ways to Help Keep Your Teen from Smoking

Disclosure: Tobacco Free New York State sponsored this post as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central. Opinions expressed in this post are 100% mine.

10 Ways to Help Keep Your Teen from Smoking

While reading my post please remember to  sign the “Seen Enough Tobacco” pledge today to make New York a healthier place to live, work and play! 

How to Keep Your Teen from Smoking

1. Set a Good Example

Teen smoking is more common among teens whose parents smoke.  If you smoke, quit.  The earlier you stop smoking, the less likely your teen is to become a smoker.  Ask your doctor about ways to stop smoking.

In the meantime, don’t smoke in the house, in the car or in front of your teen, and don’t leave cigarettes where your teen might find them.  Explain to your teen how unhappy you are with your smoking, how difficult it is to quit and that you’ll keep trying until you stop smoking for good.

10 Ways to Help Keep Your Teen from Smoking

2.   Understand the attraction

Teen smoking can be a form of rebellion or a way to fit in with a particular group of friends.  Some teens begin smoking to control their weight.  Others smoke to feel cool or independent. In New York State  13 years old is the average age of a new smoker. Many people are not aware of this.

Ask your teen how he or she feels about smoking and if any of your teen’s friends smoke.  Applaud your teen’s good choices, and talk about the consequences of bad choices.  You might also talk with your teen about how tobacco companies try to influence ideas about smoking, such as through advertisements or product placement in movies that create the idea that smoking is glamorous and more prevalent than it really is.

10 Ways to Help Keep Your Teen from Smoking

3.  Say no to teen smoking

You might feel as if your teen doesn’t hear a word you say, but say it anyway.  Tell your teen that smoking isn’t allowed.  Your disapproval will have more impact than you think.  Teens whose parents set the firmest smoking restrictions tend to smoke less than do teens whose parents don’t set smoking limits.  The same goes for teens who feel close to their parents. It’s time to take action and protect kids from being exposed to tobacco products in stores – please sign the “Seen Enough Tobacco” pledge today to make New York a healthier place to live, work and play!  

4. Appeal to your teen’s vanity

Remind your teen that smoking is dirty and smells.  Smoking gives you bad breath, stained teeth, and wrinkles.  Smoking makes your clothes, skin and hair smell.  Smoking can also leave you with a chronic cough and less energy for sports and other fun activities.

5. Do the math

Smoking is expensive.  At the time of writing this post, cigarettes range from $9.75 and up depending on where you purchase them in NYS.  You can help your teen figure out how much it will cost weekly, monthly or yearly of smoking a pack a day.  You can then compare that cost with the cost of electronic devices, clothing or other items they might find they enjoy having more. A lot of money is being spent by the tobacco companies to make sure kids see available tobacco products.  The more kids see tobacco, the more likely they are to start smoking. 

6. Expect peer pressure

Give your teen the tools he or she needs to refuse cigarettes.  Rehearse how to handle tough social situations.  It could be as easy as saying, “No thanks.  I don’t smoke.”

10 Ways to Help Keep Your Teen from Smoking

7.  Take addiction seriously

Most teens believe occasional smoking won’t cause them to become addicted and that if they become regular smokers, they can stop smoking at any time they want.  Teens, however, can become addicted with on and off again smoking.  Remind your teen that most adult smokers started as teens.  Once you are hooked, it is very hard to quit.

8. Predict the future

Teens tend to assume that bad things happen only to other people.  Most teens think cancer, heart attacks, and strokes only occur in the abstract.  Use loved ones, friends, neighbors or celebrities who have been ill as real-life examples.

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9. Think beyond cigarettes

Smokeless tobacco, clove cigarettes (kreteks) and candy-flavored cigarettes (bidis) are sometimes mistaken as less harmful or addictive than are the traditional cigarettes.  Teens also often think that water pipe (hookah) smoking is safe.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Kreteks, bidis, and hookahs all carry health risks.  Don’t allow your teen to be fooled.

10. Get  Involved

Take an active stance against teen smoking.  Participate in local and school-sponsored smoking prevention campaigns.  Support efforts to make public places smoke-free and increase taxes on tobacco products.  Your actions can help reduce the odds that your teen will become a smoker.

If your teen has already started smoking, avoid threats and ultimatums.  Instead, find out why your teen is smoking, and discuss ways to help your teen quit.  Avoiding or stopping smoking is one of the best things your teen can do for a lifetime of good health.

About My Smoking Experience

We see all of the promotion of smoking and believe me kids see it too.  There are ads at every gas station, on favorite TV shows as well as movies.  Smoking is shown as something that is cool.  It has been for a long time.

I didn’t grow up with parents that used tobacco products.  So you wouldn’t think I would be someone that would start.  When I was 17, I was dating a guy that smoked.  I tried and tried to get him to quit, but instead, I ended up starting.  I told myself I could stop at any time and at different points I did.  I hid it from my parents and family.  I didn’t realize all of those years ago that there was a possibility I would still be smoking at the age of 49.  I quit when I was at college for the most part because it was against the rules.  I also stopped each time I was pregnant because I knew it wasn’t right for the baby.  But I always went back to it. I do not smoke in the house and haven’t for probably 20 years, nor do I in our vehicle.  You probably wonder why I am telling you all of this.  Because when a teenager decides to start smoking, there is a significant possibility they will continue throughout their life.  I know this because it is from my experience.

Don’t forget to sign the “Seen Enough Tobacco” petition.


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View Comments (15)
  • I started smoking when I was a teenager and it took 10 years for me to quit. I will definitely do anything I ca to prevent my children from ever picking up a cigarette, so thank you for these tips!

  • I have a similar experience like you. I started in teenage years and stopped at times. Once I stopped smoking for 8 years, but I started again. Also, it was not difficult for me to stop smoking in all three pregnancies and during breastfeeding, but immediately afterward I would continue.

  • I did try smoking when I was in college but luckily I never really liked it and so I didn’t continue with it. My mom is addicted to it though and still continues to smoke to this day. I have two teen daughters now and I hope they will never even try it.

  • Good post and great tips. I was a smoker for so many years until I got diagnosed with breast cancer. My son did smoke but quit about 4 years ago. I think more people are beginning to realize the damage of cigarettes. Informing our kids is a great asset to their future.

  • I believe that children and teens should be explained about the dangers of smoking but not strictly forbid it. If something is forbidden, then there is more attraction to it. I was never forbidden smoking or alcohol, and because of that I was never tempted.

    • I do agree with you :). Neither of my parents used tobacco products and yet at one time all 3 of their kids (me included) either smoked or my brother used smokeless tobacco. So I totally get that.

  • This is a good lesson for a lot of parents. I smoked when I was a teen. I’m not proud of it but I did. However, I don’t smoke anymore and there is no way that I want my children to smoke. This is great advice!

    • My daughter has never taken up smoking either and at one time both of us smoked. So I am happy she did not take after us.

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