If you haven’t seen the ads yet, smoking is both addictive and deadly. It can lead to cancers and disfigurement. But, many adult smokers began this habit when they were teenagers. Help your teen to realize what they are in for if they begin to smoke.
You want to count out all that your teen shouldn’t do and expect them to follow your lead. Unfortunately, they won’t listen to that. Remember when you were a teenager? There are many reasons why teenagers get into smoking in the first place. Learning those reasons and trying to counteract them is your best way of getting through to your teen.
So, why do teenagers smoke? In the 60s and 70s it was the Marlboro Man ads. Smoking was synonymous with sex appeal and manliness. If you weren’t the Marlboro Man then you were a woman who wanted one.
Some kids these days still feel that smoking gives them that allure. Girls love a dangerous guy who lives on the fringes of society because he is different. Smoking makes him look cool and handsome at the same time. For girls, smoking is what the “bad girls” do. This is a draw for teens with low self-esteem who want to boost their image somehow.
Smoking can also be a result of peer pressure. When your teen is with their friends and they smoke, they will ultimately offer a smoke to your teen. Too much ribbing and teasing can lead to your teen trying it “once.” Little do they know that nicotine is addictive and one cigarette can turn into a pack a day habit.
Smoking makes teens feel “grown up.” When you are feeling a lack of attention at home or at school, smoking makes them feel like they are important. They gain confidence from that cigarette in their mouth.
All of these are reasons why your teen may take up smoking even after your lecture on why it is wrong for them. Now, let’s move on to the physical consequences. The biggest is cancer.
Cancer is the word we don’t utter at the dinner table or in normal family conversation. If we ignore it, maybe it will go away. The cancers associated with smoking are lung cancer and throat cancer for a start. Those who smoke are also likely to develop emphysema, COPD and other respiratory problems.
One of the most devastating situations is when someone you care about gets cancer from second-hand smoke. Their smoking has made you sick. It is always more of a deterrent to smoking when someone your teen knows has cancer or another disease that is directly related to it.
And, teens do get sick from smoking. It is not just adults who suffer these effects. In the prime of their lives they don’t want to be permanently attached to an oxygen tank or have an operation to remove their tongue or voice box.
Smoking has both physical and social consequences. Your teen may be listening more to the social consequences of not smoking than the physical consequences of smoking.