10 Ways to Talk to Your Kids About Smoking

The effects of smoking aren't glamorous. See more drug pictures.

The health risks of smoking tobacco are well-known, including its link to cancer, chronic disease and premature death. But every day, about 4,000 young people try cigarettes, and an additional 1,000 kids under 18 become regular smokers [source: Riordan].

Ninety percent of adult smokers started before the age of 18, with the peak age for first-time users being between 11 and 13 years old [source: Riordan]. These statistics aren't surprising, with smoking often glamorized in movies, television and pop culture.

So, what do you do to keep your kid from taking up the habit? First, it's reassuring to know that if a person hasn't started smoking by age 19, it's unlikely that he or she ever will. It's also good to know that although society, events and the media impact kids, parents remain the greatest influence in their lives.

Bringing up the topic of smoking might be tough, but it's important to talk about it, because you can make a difference. Read on for some tips on how to go about it.