How do you get your teen to quit smoking?


Anyone who has a teen at home knows that giving ultimatums and getting angry doesn't always support the cause. If you want your teen to quit smoking, don't start with a lecture and don't just fire off angry threats. First try to discover the reasons behind the habit. Teens aren't concerned with the long-term hazards of smoking or any other habit, they are most probably occupied with the social aspects of what they do or don't do. Even though the pressing issues should be the consequences of smoking, such as cancer, heart attack or stroke, for teens the approach might include an appeal to their personal habits and vanity. Let your teen see the ugly side of smoking; the bad breath, the smell, the yellow teeth, and the decrease in physical endurance for sports and other activities. The cost of smoking might also be a significant factor.

Once your teen decides to quit, you should realize that the addictive power of nicotine has a strong hold on teens, as well as adults. Support your teen's efforts by keeping the motivation level high; suggest writing down the reasons for quitting and then decide on a day. Encourage your teen when he or she has to deal with nicotine cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Offer alternatives such as chewing gum or toothpicks to keep busy. If peer pressure is a problem, it might help your teen to avoid situations that might bring on temptation to light up a cigarette. Some teens might need the help of a specialist or support group to kick the smoking habit, and in some cases a doctor might prescribe a nicotine replacement. Be prepared for slip-ups, and encourage your teen not to give up; quitting smoking is a major change and it may not come easy, but it could be a matter of life and death.