How to Get Your Kids to Say No to Smoking
Spending an extra three to five minutes in the pediatrician’s office may save your child or teenager’s life. In addition to cigarette smoking, the tobacco products now available include e-cigs, vapes, hookahs and flavored tobacco. The increase in availability and variety has also increased its’ popularity, especially with the younger population. Vape and e-cigs stores are popping up all over. A smoking screening, prevention and if necessary, intervention may be needed now more than ever.
Smoking can lead to lung cancer and heart disease and has even been associated with premature wrinkles. Children and adolescents are often not worried about what may happen down the road. Parents, however, understand that the actions a child makes today can have a significant impact on their long term health. In addition, smoking can cause teeth staining, unpleasant breath, body odors and can even impair sports performance. Some people believe that smoking will help them stay thin. This is a myth and there is no proof that it helps. Also, smokers with underlying chronic conditions such as asthma can become worse.
Advise About the Danger of Smoking
As part of an annual well examination, children ages five and over are screened for smoking. Following the screening, the pediatrician will advise about the dangers of smoking. Parents, if you do not smoke you are to be complimented. Smokers are to be counseled about the risks of second hand smoke. Each home should have a smoke free zone to keep the non-smokers safe. Short focused interventions can open the door to further dialogue.
Parents are asked to provide the needed smoking family history. The doctor can then assess risk factors. For example, have their family members or friends smoked? Is the child or adolescent depressed? What is the attitude about smoking at home? Does the child or teenager have poor grades or any family problems? Answering these questions is important to understanding the child’s potential risk for smoking.
Get Smoking Assistance Now
For parents who are smokers, the doctor can assist them in becoming a non-smoking role model. The National Cancer Institute’s quit support line is 877-44U-QUIT. Smokefree.gov has the better-known number, 1-800-QUIT-NOW. Both will provide links to local and state quit lines.
Children must be provided the knowledge and tools to resist peer pressure. Remember the acronym, REAL (Refuse, Explain, Avoid, Leave), which is a good mantra for the child or teenager to learn.
Understanding the risks can help parents identify potential problems before they become habitual. For any concerns regarding your child or teenager’s possibility of smoking, please call Rainbow Pediatrics at 910-486-5437 to schedule their appointment.