The best way to prevent tobacco dependence is to not smoke in the first place. The best way to prevent your children from smoking is to not smoke yourself. If you're a parent who smokes, the younger your children are when you quit, the less likely they are to become smokers themselves.

Even if you don't smoke, here are some things you might try as a parent:

  • Promote smoke-free environments. Support legislation to make all workplaces smoke-free. Encourage smoke-free public places, including restaurants or other places where your teen may work.
  • Support legislation to increase taxes on tobacco products. Higher prices discourage teens from starting to smoke. Higher prices on tobacco products, coupled with smoke-free workplace laws, are the most effective public health policies to reduce smoking in adults and prevent young people from ever starting.
  • Talk with your teenagers. Ask whether their friends smoke. Most teenagers smoke their first cigarette with a friend who already smokes. Let your child know that other forms of tobacco, including cigars and smokeless tobacco, also carry significant health risks.
  • Learn what your children think about smoking. Ask them to read this article so that you can discuss it together. You can be a great influence on whether your children smoke, despite what they see in movies and on the Internet.
  • Help your children explore personal feelings. Use nonjudgmental questions and rehearse with them how they could handle tough situations regarding peer pressure and smoking.
  • Note the social repercussions. Remind your teenager that smoking gives you bad breath and makes your hair and clothes smell.
  • Work with your schools. Become active in community and school stop-smoking programs.
June 04, 2013