If smoking takes place during adolescence, smoking cessation is more difficult and the risk of not leaving the body free after weaning is higher. Thus, primary prevention is the least expensive and the most effective. If smoking is not to become a childhood illness, we must work together towards one goal: young people must not start smoking.
Smoking prevention by age
We can schematically distinguish three age groups during which the child is more or less sensitive to recommendations, prohibitions and medical justifications. There is no ideal age to talk about it, the sooner the better, cigarettes should not be taboo and you must talk about vaping as well. Banning smoking is not enough, which could arouse the desire to defy this ban. We must speak about it freely, and establish a dialogue. Depending on your child’s age, their listening will be different. So you have to adapt your arguments .
Around 8 or 10 years old, the position of children on tobacco is quite clear. They then consider that tobacco is dangerous for health, smells bad, and stings the eyes. The image of the few smoking family members testifies to the difficulty of quitting. At this age, the child is hungry for knowledge on all subjects; thus, one must be able to speak to him about the harmful effects of tobacco on the respiratory system – image of the bronchi of a smoker in support – and on the whole body, of the harmful products contained in cigarette smoke. During this first age group, it is best to prepare the child for the temptations of adolescence .
According to Parenting Teenagers Academy, dialogue with parents (symbol of an authority from which the adolescent wants to free himself) is sometimes difficult. The personality, like the body, is under construction. Scientific and rational argument finds less resonance. The risks of cancer seem far away and smoking is often associated with moments of parties and relaxation with friends. It is then necessary to analyze the reasons which push him to smoke and to make him wonder if he really needs it. At an age when your teen is looking for new models of identification, it is then necessary to favor psychological arguments and thwart the “benefits of tobacco” in the eyes of the adolescent.
The End Of Puberty
At this age, the upheavals of adolescence normally no longer take place. The young adult is more sensitive to scientific argument . It is a question of comforting the non-smoker in his choice by arguing on the mortality due to tobacco. For smokers, it is necessary to analyze their dependence by the Fageström test, to talk about the interactions between the pill and the cigarette (which multiply the risks of cardiovascular diseases).
The Case of Smoking Parents
How to go about it when you try to prevent your children from smoking while smoking yourself? Whatever your child’s age, the role and image of parents and loved ones is very important. Having parents who smoke also increases the risk of smoking during adolescence 1. Children of heavy smokers have almost 20% more risk of smoking.
But that does not prevent parents from holding an anti-smoking speech with their child. Always maintain the dialogue, put forward neutral arguments, without necessarily relating it to your smoking experience . Most importantly, don’t leave your cigarette packs lying around at home. The sale of tobacco is prohibited for minors, as much as not facilitating their access to the home.
Of course, you will have even more legitimacy if you lead by example by not smoking or by quitting smoking. So we recommend that you and your child read our article on smoking cessation methods.
My child starts to smoke, how to react?
Starting to smoke is often a way of defying the taboo or identifying with a group for the child or adolescent. When you discover it, the ideal is not to dramatize the situation, without taking it lightly . You can opt for information, as neutral as possible, without moralizing aspect . However, try to maintain the ban on smoking at home , explain your reasons. This ban will limit smoking opportunities , delaying the establishment of the addiction. This can help the decision to quit smoking .
In any case, do not cut off the dialogue with your child. By listening to them and supporting their desire to stop, you will be their first point of contact. You can inform him about the possible aids: nicotine substitutes can be used from the age of 15, offer to make an appointment with a doctor to talk about it or for a consultation specializing in tobacco use.