Smoking has become one of the most controversial issues of the decade; many companies and cities have banned smoking in public places, and there is a serious possibility that healthcare insurance costs could rise for smokers since they are more prone to health conditions such as cancer, tuberculosis, and the like.
However, despite the risk of grave diseases and significant societal consequences, there are still alarming numbers of teenagers and young adults taking up the habit. Experts believe that this is most likely due to the mindset of youth- after all, why should they worry now about a problem or disease they might develop years in the future?
If you believe your teenager or young adult has taken up smoking, it is important to intervene as soon as possible; the following is a list of tips and tricks that will help you to convince them that smoking may not be for them.
1. Money makes the world go round
Cigarettes are notoriously expensive, and cost anywhere from $5 to $15 per pack in the United States; since the pocketbook of teens and college students is notoriously small, buying tobacco can take quite a chunk out of their finances.
Take some time to sit down with your child and discuss the financial implications of buying cigarettes, as well as better ways to spend- or save- their limited money. If they still insist on smoking, try to get them to agree to a “tobacco allowance”, which will limit both the number of cigarettes that they smoke and the amount of money they spend on tobacco products.
2. Show them the evidence
If your child does not believe that using tobacco products can lead to the development of cancer, consider taking them to Bodies: The Exhibition, a traveling display that includes diseased organs from donors who smoked.
The display is guaranteed to make a powerful impression on your teen- Bodies is actually responsible for having inspired hundreds of smokers to quit through the display of a lifelong smoker’s lungs, liver, and various other organs.
There is no doubt that the display conveys an immensely powerful message, so much that at the end of the smoking section, the staff has placed a clear box in which people can dispose of their cigarettes. The box is almost always full.
3. Discuss the motives of tobacco manufacturers
Tobacco companies always have, and always will portray smoking as a symbol of finesse and beauty; they want customers to believe that smoking will make them more popular, more beautiful, more intelligent, and more successful. After all, what better way is there to sell a product than to appeal to the customer’s self-image?
This tactic is especially effective among teens and young adults, who are constantly concerned with their image, popularity, and sexual appeal. It is important to inform your teen that, regardless of what the tobacco companies and friends might say, smoking will not improve their quality of life, increase the number of friends that they have, or even help to clear up their muddled complexion.
Discuss the motives and tactics of the tobacco companies with your teen, and make sure they understand that companies such as Phillip Morris and Camel are, after all, more interested in profits than in the wellbeing of customers.
4. Ask questions
Although image and peer pressure are common reasons, there are also many more motives that your teenager might have for taking up smoking. Make sure that you spend quality time with your teen and do your best to keep the lines of communication open- smoking might be their way of dealing with depression or stress, and it is important to address such issues as soon as possible.
If your teen is smoking because of personal problems and stress, it is likely that they will lose the desire to smoke when the problems are resolved or they find alternative methods of dealing with the issues.
5. Why is it a good idea to smoke?
There are very few smokers who can effectively answer this question, and even if your teen is smoking as a way to deal with stress or depression, chances are that they will still not be able to come up with a good answer. Although this method does not address their smoking habits, it does plant a seed of doubt in their mind about smoking, which in and of itself can be enough to catalyze their efforts to drop the habit.
It is known far and wide that there is no easy way to quit smoking- however, if the habit is caught and stopped early, the damage can be minimized and your teen can go on to live a long and healthy tobacco-free life.