In reading about two new studies showing yet more consequences to second-hand smoking, I stumbled across a strategy for parents to use to keep their kids from wanting to smoke in the first place. The article mentioned that kids who describe the smell of cigarette smoke as “gross” or unpleasant, were 78% less likely to start the habit. This is important because, as the article points out, “the National Center for Addiction and Substance Abuse found that nine out of 10 people who meet the clinical criteria for substance abuse began smoking, drinking or using other drugs before they turned 18, and that this is a big concern in teens as they are more likely to try risky things while their brains are still developing.”
So besides stopping smoking if you are a smoker yourself (obviously beneficial to your children), how can we parents create an “eeewww” reaction in our children? Click here for an article about the ugly effects of smoking from kidshealth.org. You could have your teen sit and read it with you for a mini-teaching session which includes a picture of diseased lungs, and the list of “gross” things about smoking, like having bad skin, bad breath, and bad-smelling clothes and hair. We all know how vain teens can be, and appealing to their vanity might be quite effective!