Smoking is a serious addiction and is one that is very difficult for people to break. Often, adults that smoke will say that they had their first cigarette when they were teenagers and have been smoking ever since. Since this is the case, it is very important for parents to work with their teenagers to equip them to face the temptation to smoke. There are also programs and mentors that can help to prevent the teens from smoking through their involvement in these activities. Often information about smoking is the best prevention for teens from smoking. Seeing the list of harmful effects of smoking along with pictures of people who have contracted cancer or other diseases from smoking, especially at a young age, can have powerful effects on teens.
Communication is key to preventing teens from smoking. Parents always need to try and keep the lines of communication open to talk about difficult issues with their teenagers. If they see secretive activity going on, they should gently figure out ways to talk to their teens about that behavior, because smoking and other dangerous activities are generally started in the cover and excitement of secrecy. There are many resources that parents can use to provide them with facts about smoking so that those facts can be relayed to their teens to prevent them from smoking.
Another way to prevent teens from smoking is to have them involved in healthy extra-curricular activities so that their time is filled in productive ways. This does not mean that all their time is filled going from one activity to the next which is often stressful and can lead to smoking, but it does mean providing ways for the teen to find fulfillment and natural ‘highs’ through success in other activities. Setting a good example to the teens is another way to prevent the teens from smoking. It is difficult to defend a non-smoking position as the best lifestyle when the parents are smoking themselves.
If the preventative measures to keep teens from smoking are not effective, all is not lost. Parents need to try and work with their teens to talk about smoking and to find ways to connect with their teens so that they can be influenced to stop. Once the teens are convinced that they want to stop, then the parents can also help by providing an environment of encouragement and support, even when the teen messes up, during the process of quitting.