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Home >  Information A-ZAll Kids Information Articles Children and Smoking

Children and Smoking

Parents who don’t smoke may be under the false impression that this means there is no need to talk with their kids about not smoking. These parents may believe that there is no need since their child is never exposed to it.

Unfortunately, though, all kids are exposed to smoking at some point or another. Even if none of the child's close relatives smoke (which is rare), they will still see people who smoke, be it in movies, at a friend's house, or even walking through the park. Since this is the case, this also means that almost all children will become curious about smoking at some point. As a parent, you should try to begin discussing smoking early enough that when that curiosity does arise, you will have taught them enough so that they only think about doing it instead of actually doing it.

If you are a parent who smokes, the need for this discussion may arise even more quickly, for two main reasons:
1. Children often imitate their parents, and

2. The kids whose parents smoke have greater access to cigarettes.
Both of these reasons can cause the child's curiosity to arise earlier and stronger than in homes where the parents don’t smoke. This means that you must begin talking early to catch your child soon enough.

While nothing is guaranteed to ever prevent your child from trying cigarettes, just as nothing can guarantee prevention of them being a regular smoker when they grow up, there are a few things that parents can do that may help:

• Talk early with your child—while doing this, you must be honest. If you smoke, tell them why you do, how much you would like to quit, etc. If you don't smoke, tell them why you decided that. Make sure that they are aware of the horrible health problems that can come with smoking cigarettes.

• Making them try it—some parents (and, of course, health experts) are completely against this, and some aren't. Many parents, especially those of earlier generations, believe in the method of making the child try it when they show an interest, so that it will make them sick and it will be the last time they ever try it
• Let them see the bad effects—since you know children will see smoking, such as in movies, it could help to not keep them from seeing the aftereffects (such as a movie where a person has emphysema). This may not be a very good option if you are a parent who smokes, though, because you might cause your child to worry about you, and that's not good either. You just want to let them see how serious it is so that they won't want to join in when they are with a group of friends who want to try cigarettes.

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