10 Ways to Talk to Your Kids About Smoking


Include But Don't Harp on the Dangers

There are short and long-term consequences of smoking cigarettes.
There are short and long-term consequences of smoking cigarettes.

Kids who know the facts are more likely to make good choices. So, you'll want to make sure yours understand the dangers of smoking.

Although your kids might think they're immune to addiction, smokers can get hooked on the habit within days of taking that first puff [source: Riordan]. Tell them about the immediate effects smoking will have on their bodies. They may experience some coughing and throat irritation, respiratory problems, reduced immune function and an increased susceptibility to illness such as influenza.

Over the long haul, the effects are much more serious. Nicotine affects mood, heart, lungs, stomach and the nervous system. It's the main cause of chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Smoking doubles the chances of heart disease and is one of the three leading causes of heart attacks. It's also the leading cause of preventable deaths in the United States [source: Nemours].

While your kids need to know these facts, it might not be enough to deter them from the practice. In some instances, the more you talk about the dangers, the more inclined they might be to satisfy their own curiosity by giving it a try. To prevent smoking from becoming the "forbidden fruit" in your household, be sure to present the dangers as part of a larger, ongoing communication.