10 Ways to Talk to Your Kids About Smoking

Use Images

It's been said that a picture's worth a thousands words. That's definitely true when it comes to getting the message across to your kids about smoking.

Show your kids pictures of healthy lungs alongside ones from someone with lung cancer or emphysema. They'll notice a dramatic difference between the slightly pink normal lungs and the tar-blackened, disfigured lungs of the smoker.

A picture of a chronic smoker with gray, leathery, wrinkled skin might also be a deterrent. Smoking dries skin and squeezes blood vessels, which causes premature aging. It also turns a person's fingernails yellow, stains their teeth and can cause rotting gums [source: Schwebel]. Not a pretty picture.

You can also demonstrate the effects of smoking. Have a smoker blow a mouthful of cigarette smoke through a tissue or clean handkerchief. Explain to your kids that the tar left on the tissue is about the same as what is left in their lungs when they smoke [source: Schwebel].