Helping Your Child Quit
You may want to ignore the possibility that your kid may be smoking. Maybe you smoked as a kid, or maybe you feel that every kid smokes, so there's no point in trying to stop it. You may also feel that it's "just tobacco" and that your kid is "just experimenting." But you can't turn a blind eye.
Each day nearly 4,800 kids smoke their first cigarette, and 2,000 kids a day become regular smokers.
If your teenager is smoking or chewing tobacco, it will be up to him or her to quit. But you can help.
Your intervention is critical. Don't lecture, don't punish. But don't accept excuses like it's "not a big deal" or "I can quit anytime." Support your child in helping them quit. It's one of the best parenting activities you could ever do.
- Avoid threats and ultimatums. Find out why your child is smoking. Your preteen or teen may want to be accepted by a peer group, or he or she might want your attention. Plus, adolescence can be stressful.
- Show your interest in a non-threatening way. Ask a few questions and determine why your teen is smoking and what changes can be made in his or her life to help them stop.
- If you smoke, quit.
- If you did smoke and have already quit, talk to your child about your experience. Personalize the little problems around smoking and the big challenge of quitting. Teens and preteens often believe they can quit smoking whenever they want, but research shows many teens never do..
- Be supportive. Both you and your teen need to prepare for the mood swings and crankiness that can come with nicotine withdrawal. Offer your teen the 5 D's to get through the tough times.
- Make a list with your teen or preteen of the reasons why they want to quit. Refer back to this list when your teen is tempted.
- Call the Maine Tobacco Helpline.
Visit our Quit Tobacco pages for more about how to quit and how to help others to quit.
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