Prevention – Tobacco


Here are some tips for parents to prevent teen tobacco use

  • Tell your children honestly and directly that you don’t want them to smoke cigarettes. Give them clear, consistent messages about the risks of smoking.
  • Start talking to your kids about smoking when they are five or six years old and continue through their high school years. Many kids start smoking at age 11 and some are addicted by age 14.
  • Explain the health dangers of smoking as well as the physical aspects such as bad breath, discolored teeth and nails.
  • Set a good example for your kids by not smoking.
  • If you are a parent who smokes, the best thing you can do is quit.
    • Talk to your kids about how difficult it is to quit smoking and how much easier it would have been if you’ve never started in the first place.
    • Don’t smoke around your children and don’t ever let them have any of your cigarettes.
  • Establish a smoke-free policy in your home.
  • Make sure events that your children attend are smoke-free.
  • Support tobacco-free schools and insist that school health programs include tobacco-use prevention education.
  • Know if your children have any friends that smoke. Talk with your kids about ways to refuse a cigarette.
  • If you find out your teen has already started smoking, your first reaction may be to order him or her to quit immediately. It’s important to realize that teen smokers become addicted to nicotine very quickly, which can make the quitting process very difficult. Be patient and supportive.
  • If you caught your teen smoking, try to avoid threats and ultimatums. Ask a few questions and find out why your child is smoking. Talk about what changes can be made in his or her life to help your child stop smoking.

Information provided by: American Lung Association. (2011). Tips for parents. Retrieved from