Our present generation of kids and teenagers is increasingly indulging in smoking. This reality poses the question: how do we prevent or discourage them from smoking?
Some methods have worked. Methods such as public health campaigns targeted at underage individuals have helped prevent some of our underage population from indulging in this lethal habit. Many tobacco companies entice young individuals with advertisements, discount offers, and alluring products such as e-cigarettes that are being manufactured to look trendy.
The majority of underage individuals are highly susceptible to external influences. They yearn to blend in and be deemed acceptable by their peers. Before we delve into how to discourage or prevent our kids from using tobacco, let’s understand why doing this is important.
Why Should We Teach Kids About the Dangers of Smoking?
There’s Still a Lot of Underage Smoking
A lot of teens and kids are still using tobacco. At least 3,200 teenagers in America get their first taste of tobacco, and 2,100 young adults become daily smokers.
Smoking is Lethal
The CDC reports that 5.6 million underage individuals will die young from health complications caused by smoking.
Smokers Begin Early
If individuals don’t use tobacco till they are 26 years old, it’s almost certain that they never will.
Alternative Smoking Devices
People don’t smoke only cigarettes again. They also indulge in cigars, e-cigarettes, cigarillos, hookah, snuff, chewable tobacco, and soluble tobacco. Most of these types of tobacco have flavor, which enhances their appeal to kids and teenagers.
Measures to Be Taken to Dissuade Underage Individuals from Using Tobacco
These are measures that have been used to counter this ugly trend. They include:
Increasing the Prices of Cigarettes
Most underage people show sensitivity to higher prices. So, increased prices will make a perfect measure to discourage intending smokers.
Prohibiting Access to Tobacco
Access to tobacco products such as cigarettes, cigars, cigarillos, e-cigarettes, and others should be made illegal to anyone under 21. The American Heart Association is actively advocating for the adoption of Tobacco laws across all states in America.
Placing Regulations on Tobacco Marketing
Restrictions should be placed on certain kinds of tobacco marketing, precisely tobacco marketing targeted at young individuals. This will go a long way in mitigating the allure of smoking and tobacco products to teens.
Carrying Out Media Campaigns
Sensitization campaigns play an active role in making underage individuals aware of how tobacco companies are exploiting them. A notable campaign is Truth Initiative. They gain more potency when endorsed or supported by family-based programs and healthy school programs.
Provision of Programs to Quit Smoking
The provision of accessible and affordable programs that can help underage individuals, teens, and even parents or guardians who are smokers can immensely curb this ugly trend. In addition, the parents can become better role models.
Roles Parents can Play to Discourage Underage Smoking
Openly Communicate with Them About Smoking
This is a role that every parent should start playing early, as early as their kindergarten stage. Parents should be open so that they can confide in you and you can understand their perspective. Ensure you discuss this subject with them as they progress into adolescence.
Make Them Aware of the Dangers of Cigarettes
Expose the ugliness of tobacco that they will never hear about from their peers or in advertisements. Tell them that any form of tobacco is dangerous. Another danger is being addicted to nicotine.
Educate Your Kids About Peer Pressure
Prepare your kids for what they will face from friends or social circles when they go outside the house. It can be at parties or in school. Teach them to be polite but firm in their refusal when offered any form of tobacco.