Teen Smoking: Ways To Help Teens Quit Smoking

Teen Smoking: Ways To Help Teens Quit Smoking

What will happen when you know that your teenager smokes? How would you feel if you saw a pack of cigarettes in your teenage daughter's bag or saw your teenage son taking cigarette puffs with his friends?

This burning question is not only for parents but also for the public health authorities on how to stop the teenage generation from smoking.

Smoking cigarettes is a risk to everyone's health whether it is a teenager, young, middle-aged or old. The younger you start smoking cigarettes, the more problems you can cause for your health.

Smoking Habit In Teens

People who start smoking before the age of 21, for those it is most difficult to quit. Teen smokers are more likely to use alcohol and dangerous drugs. 

The problem is not just about cigarettes rather tobacco, e-cigarette, cigar, spitting tobacco; addiction to any of these is not safe. Also, low-tar and additive-free tobacco products are also not safe.

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “young People who do not start smoking or taking any other form of tobacco till the age of 18, in their case, it is most likely that they will never start it”

Yvonne Hunt, program director of the Tobacco Control Research Branch of the National Cancer Institute, says’” Parents should understand that if their teenager has started experimenting with tobacco and if he is also a regular smoker, then it wouldn’t be too late. Parents can be really persuasive by showing interest and can engage their teens in conversations about it.”

But now the most important question is how to communicate with the teens effectively and tell them to quit smoking? In this article, some effective tips have been given to overcome this confusion of parents.

Why Do Teenagers Smoke?

Why do teenagers start smoking? What causes teenagers to smoke? We have given some reasons to understand these questions.    

1. Motivated By Peer Pressure

This is the most common reason for teens to start smoking. Teens whose friends smoke are very likely to start smoking. They are greatly influenced by the habit of smoking their companions and by doing so they get a sense of belonging.

2. Follow The Footsteps Of Parents

Teenagers can also take this habit from their parents because they will feel smoking as normal behaviour and somewhat that is grown up and mature. Parents smoking at home could have a major impact on teenagers. It can be a source of triggering smoking habits.

When teens understand that smoking helps these adults to reduce stress, relax and stay awake, they will also try.

3. Showing Independence

Teens feel that smoking makes them cool, mature and independent. They want to make their own decisions and are responsible for their choices. This can be considered as a healthy and normal process for all adolescents, however, excessive freedom can lead them to disobedience.

4. To Reduce Stress

After experiencing many stressful events in childhood, teenagers can start smoking to reduce stress. Sometimes the stressful environment of the house, lack of family support also motivates them to smoke. Like adults, teenagers can also use smoking to reduce stress.

5. Smoking Trend

Most of the teenagers think smoking is a trendy thing. If they think that then everyone else smokes, then they should also do so. When they see others smoking they take it as a normal thing and so they also want to try it. 

6. Adherence To Media Culture

It is understandable without saying how smoking advertisements affect teenagers, which leads them to accept as true that ‘smoking is cool.' Teenagers follow what is being shown in the media and adopt the habits shown in the media. 

When their favourite celebrities are seen smoking in style in a movie or TV show, they want to try the same. Then even though the dangers of smoking are reported at the end of every advertisement, the targeting effect is the same.

7. Feels Good

Nicotine is a drug that makes you feel good without getting intoxicated. When there is a relaxing activity in the body, then dopamine is released which is also called “feel good” hormone. Similarly, consumption of nicotine found in cigarettes increases dopamine levels for some time and feels good

Health Risks Of Smoking

Know the health risks of smoking in the short and long term.

  • Smoking gradually reduces lung function and lung growth. Due to which there may be a problem of shortness of breath, cough, wheezing and increased phlegm. It also reduces physical fitness.
  • Smoking increases the risk for Atherosclerosis and Heart Disease because smoking can harm the heart and blood vessels which increases the risk of heart disease at an early age. 
  • Smoking can cause yellow teeth, bad mouth odour and other mouth problems that worsen oral health.
  • Smoking leads to early skin damage and skin wrinkling. It damages the elastic tissue present in the skin, which can cause wrinkles on the skin at an early age.
  • Heart beating rate is faster by 2-3 beats per minute compared to nonsmokers. 
  • Smokers may have problems with sleep or lack of sleep due to the effects of nicotine. Inadequate sleep at night can affect a person's concentration and attention during the day. 
  • When teens who smoke for some reason cannot fulfil their craving, then they may get very irritable.
  • Many other risks like erectile dysfunction, hip fractures, birth defects and rheumatoid arthritis as well. 

Ways To Prevent Your Teen From Smoking

Here are some ways to prevent your teen from smoking 

1. Be Yourself A Good Example

When parents smoke, it is very likely that their children also get used to smoking. It will be better before the children get into this habit, you leave this habit. If you are unable to give up your habit, please do not smoke at home, in the car or in front of your child. Let them know that you have made a mistake by starting and you will try your best to stop this.

2. Keep Talking About its Dangers

To get rid of the smoking habit of a teenager, you should constantly try to convince him that smoking has a very bad effect on health. Make aware him about the long term consequences related to it and appreciate your child's good habits. 

3. Make Strict Rules

Set some limits and expectations in the house and declare the house smoke free. Politely state your decision to your teen that smoking in the family is prohibited. Also ask him if his friends also smoke and if the answer is yes, and then ask your teenager to stay away from them. This step of yours will motivate him to abstain from smoking.

4. Give Examples Of Others

Talk to your teenager about people in your family or friends circle who are suffering from smoking or tobacco-related illnesses or friends or relatives who have died due to tobacco-related diseases. Try to make yourself emotional, but also stay confident.

5. Calculation Of Monetary Cost Of Smoking

Smoking is an expensive habit. Ask your teenager to calculate how much does he spend on smoking in a year.  Tell him that this amount can be used in better ways like hobbies, shopping, excursions etc. 

6. Inspire Them For Healthy Habits

Inspire your teen to have healthy habits and exercise like playing their favourite sport, workout at home or joining the gym, etc. This keeps them busy, will help to make them fit and will give them the control power to say no to unwanted habits.

7. Notify The Effects Of Smoking On Them

Most teenagers know the disadvantages of smoking but are too young to realize these facts.  That’s why tell them the change in their looks and other things due to smoking. For example:

  • Having bad breath
  • Dull and wrinkled skin at such a young age
  • Low energy
  • Yellowing of teeth and fingers
  • Breathing problems
  • Frequent cough

Some Signs That Indicates That Teen Is Smoking

Here are some indications for you to know that your teen is smoking.

1. Stinking Breath - If your teen chews chewing gum all the time or eats mints, this means that he might smoke and by doing this, he will try his best to hide the smell of his mouth.    

2. Frequent Cough - Throat irritation and frequent coughing are also signs of smoking. But you can get medical advice to know other possible reasons for this.

3. YellowingTeeth - One side effect of smoking is that the colour of teeth gradually turns yellow. If your teeth turn yellow even after repeated brushing and maintaining oral hygiene, then it might be a result of smoking.

4. Things Like Lighter Or Matchbox - If you find a lighter or matchbox in a teen's bag, room or cupboard, it can be guessed that he/ she may be smoking. You may also find burn/scorch marks or holes in bedsheets and carpets.

5. Smoke Smell - The smell of tobacco lasts for a long time. If you find the malodorous smell of smoke on teen’s hair and clothes, then he/she is definitely smoking. They might keep the windows open of the room in odd hours to remove this smell.

Tips For Helping Your Teen Quit Smoking

Some tips for you to convince your teen to quit smoking

1. Interact With Them

Now, when you know your teen is smoking so doesn’t scold or threaten him. This is the time to handle the situation peacefully and wisely. You must have already talked about the ill effects of smoking but now talk another way. Explain its negative effects and tell him/her how much smoke can harm you.

2. Set A Date To Quit Smoking

When your teen agrees to quit smoking, help your teen pick a date to stop smoking and mark it at the calendar.  Appreciate your teen on his/her decision to quit a bad habit and take up something productive.  

3. Stay Away From Friends Who Smoke

If your teen's friends smoke then advise them to be with those friends who are non-smokers. This will keep them away from the temptation of trying to smoke again. Inspire your teen to avoid people, places and events that make him/her miss smoking.

4. Handle The Cravings

When there is a craving for any habit, it becomes very difficult to stop it. Keep your teen ready for this craving. Tell them that if they stop this urge for just 1 minute, then the craving for nicotine will pass. Tell them to take deep breaths or to take a walk. You can also offer cinnamon sticks or sugar-free chewing gum, hard candy, celery or carrot etc. to keep their mouth and mind busy.

5. Write The Reasons

Ask your teen to think about which reason he/she is quitting smoking. Ask them to write the reasons. Whenever they crave for smoking, they can see it and be encouraged when temptation arises.

6. Consider Using Replacement Products

If none of the remedies is helpful in quitting smoking habit, then nicotine replacement products such as nicotine gums, patches, inhalers or nasal sprays can be resorted to. Although it is not for the use of teens, it can be helpful in some cases. But first, take the advice of your teen's doctor. 

7. To Refuse To Smoke

When his/her friends offer him/her cigarettes, they have to learn to say no to overcome the difficulty. Talk to your teen and explain that there is no disrespect in saying “No” to anything and especially the thing which is harmful to everyone. 

8. Go For Counseling

You can take help from smoking cessation professionals to get rid of the teen smoking habit. They can provide equipment to your teen and give moral support to quit smoking. Some local organizations also offer stop-smoking groups for teens to stop smoking. These organizations can support teens with web-based programs whenever he needs. 

9. Don’t Go For Vaping

Vaping or nicotine vapour products, E-Cigarettes, becoming more popular among the youth. Some people believe that e-cigarettes are better than regular ones but there is not enough scientific research to prove it yet. That’s why if a teen wants to quit smoking then e-cigarette should never be an option.

10. Don’t Give Up

Getting rid of the smoking habit of teens is a process. It may take some time to happen. You have to monitor it with patience and keep talking about it. You don't have to give up. You have to understand that they are going through a very tough situation. 

Quitting any addiction is not easy. If your teen is motivated to give up a bad habit, then applaud them for their hard work. When it finally succeeds, celebrate the day and make them realize that their initiative and the right approach to life is essential for the whole family. Make them believe that their decision is right.

 If you have any other suggestions related to this, then please do tell us in the comment section given below.