How can I discourage my teen from smoking?

Whether you are a smoker or nonsmoker, if you have children you likely have worried about them picking up bad habits that affect their health, such as smoking. Try some of these tips to discourage smoking in a positive way.
  • Set a good example and do not smoke yourself. If you smoke, keep trying to quit until you are successful. Just as with good nutrition and physical activity, modeling (or “do as I do”) is the most powerful way to teach your children healthy behaviors.
  • Establish a smoke-free zone in your house and do not allow anyone to smoke indoors.
  • Explain the health hazards of smoking, and the unpleasant effects that teens can relate to, such as bad breath, yellow teeth, and the stale smell on your clothes.
  • Get to know your teen’s friends and if they smoke. Discuss with your teen how to refuse a cigarette.
  • If your teen is smoking, try to avoid threats and ultimatums. Find out why he or she is smoking - maybe to fit in, to get your attention, or to lose weight. Offer suggestions on how to achieve these goals without smoking.
  • Be patient until your teen is ready to quit. Offer resources and support as he or she attempts to quit smoking.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.