5 Ways To Talk To Your Kids About Tobacco

In Local News on August 24, 2010 at 2:56 pm

1: Children start experimenting with tobacco products early – as early as fourth grade. In fact, most adult smokers started while they were still underage. Start talking to your kids now about why they shouldn’t use tobacco.

2: Tobacco companies target kids with appealing advertising and packaging, and with new innovations such as dissolvable tobacco products that look like breath mints or strips. When you see tobacco advertising in your community, talk to your kids about what the advertising means and why it still doesn’t make smoking (or chewing) cool.

3: Kids are more influenced by tobacco advertising than by peer pressure. But your attitudes and behaviors when it comes to tobacco matter the most. If you don’t smoke, don’t start. If you do smoke, talk to your kids about how it has affected your health and how hard it is to quit – and keep trying to quit. (And call 1-800-QUIT-NOW for free help to quit smoking or chewing.) Make the inside of your home 100% tobacco-free. Tell your kids you don’t want them to use any kind of tobacco, and you will be disappointed if they do.

4: Smoking or using tobacco hurts kids now, not just when they get older. Talk to them about how using tobacco products now can cause respiratory problems, reduced immune function, increased illness, tooth decay, gum disease, and pre-cancerous gene mutations. Using tobacco also makes kids more likely to try risky behaviors and less likely to succeed in school.

5: The addiction rate for nicotine is higher than marijuana, alcohol, and cocaine. Kids can be seriously addicted in just weeks or even days after they first try smoking or chewing. Talk to them about why they shouldn’t try any tobacco product, not even once.


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