Teenagers are still smoking, even though the health issues linked to smoking are more publicised than in previous years.
Why teenagers begin smoking is questionable but sometimes peer pressure is a factor - or they simply want to! As your child becomes a teenager you will need to be aware of what might tempt them, and it is a challenge, but it must be done.
Here are some things to know about teenagers and smoking:
Prevention is better than a cure.
What we mean by this is that you should try and prevent your teenager from beginning to smoke, as once they take up smoking, it can be hard for them to give up.
That’s not easy, but you should have an honest conversation with your teenager about smoking and why you would prefer if they didn’t take up the habit.
If you smoke yourself or others do, you may find your teenager is more interested in smoking than teenagers of non-smoking parents. With smoking banned in so many places now, it isn’t like years ago when youngsters were able to smoke freely, and this takes the glamour out of it.
Some teens will not want to smoke as they will not want to sit outside in the cold - and if that’s the barrier to them taking up smoking, it is a good thing!
Health implications and expense
Talk to your teenager about the health implications as smoking causes cancer, COPD, heart disease and many other ailments. Smoking is an expensive addiction too, with a pack of cigarettes costing in or around €12-€13.
In terms of smoking 20 a day, this adds up to quite a lot of money over the week, especially if it becomes a habit. Tobacco contains nicotine which is highly addictive in the same way a lot of drugs or alcohol are addictive.
The brain enjoys the feeling and it becomes reliant on the smoking. For a teenager, this is not ideal for obvious health reasons but also falling into the addictive territory is troublesome regardless of what the addiction is.
Vaping is not good either
Your teen needs to know why smoking isn’t cool and why they shouldn’t bother taking the nasty habit up. We even have teenagers vaping thinking they look cool!
The jury is still out on whether e-cigarettes are better than smoking and unfortunately, it could be years before we fully know more. For now, any type of smoking should be frowned upon, especially for vulnerable and impressionable teenagers.
Vaping falls into that category and no smoking at all should be encouraged.
Your looks will be compromised!
Smoking for the first time isn’t even a pleasant experience, it burns their throats and probably makes teenagers feel quite sick, but over time these side effects become less obvious.
It is technically the response to the body being poisoned and nicotine is that poison. So why would you do it? Tell your teenagers about the wrinkles they’ll get or how their teeth will turn yellow and this may change their opinion on smoking.