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What should I do if my teenager has started smoking?

Armin Brott
Pediatrics
Here are some things you can do to help your teen know the dangers of smoking:

  1. Take it seriously. It’s going to be a lot easier to quit now than it will be in a few years.
  2. Be sure your teen knows the specific and detailed health risks of smoking. At the very least, it causes bad breath, yellow teeth, and stinky clothes—things no self-respecting teen can afford to have. It also reduces stamina, causes sore throats and coughing, and is very expensive. Oh, and don’t forget about cancer and emphysema. Ask your family doctor to lead the discussion, since there’s a better chance that your teen will hear it from a non-parent.
  3. Make it clear that it’s a big deal to you, and that no smoking is allowed under any circumstances or in any amount. Be sure to base your position on health risks, not simply on “because-I-said-so.”
  4. Be involved. Support and encourage your child in quitting. Get professional help if necessary. Start by visiting www.smokefree.gov or calling 1-800-QUITNOW, a service of the centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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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.