How Do We Tackle the Growing Number of Teen Smokers?

The alarming rates at which the number of teen smokers is growing makes it imperative for parents, communities and authorities to think of ways to discourage the use of tobacco among young individuals. At the cusp of maturity, many teenagers get swayed under peer pressure or are influenced by other factors like the media and become the victims of dangerous diseases that tobacco smoking brings. The article offers some suggestions that may be useful in fighting with the tobacco menace in teenagers.

Unfortunately, there’s no certain methodology which can be claimed to turn a teenager who smokes into a non-smoker. Just as there are various reasons which can be responsible in different degrees to attract an individual to smoking, there are various approaches that can make a difference – each in its own manner.

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When teenagers start smoking, the onus of deviating them away from the habit lies not only on their respective families, but their school, community, social circle, and the state as well. Not surprisingly, the reasons due to which an individual takes to smoking in the first place also stem from these entities – it might be the influence of a family member who smokes, a peer group that valorizes smoking, media that presents cigarettes as a statement of style, and also the easy availability of tobacco products — besides other factors such as stress.

Since the family is the first contact of any individual, and a source of love and support, the most effective help to overcome the habit will come from the parents, siblings, and other relatives. While the primary feeling that arises in a parent or older sibling when they get to know about a teenager’s smoking habits might be of anger, displaying it in a manner that shames or terrifies the teenager will just defy the purpose.

At the delicate stage of graduating from childhood into adulthood, teenagers are prone to rebelling most against what they are warned about. Therefore, any conversation between the family and the teenager has to be calm, composed, and absolutely non-preachy. Although it might seem unrelated, but showing him or her a non-judgmental attitude and providing emotional support goes a long way in helping get off the habit.

Schools and community centers can hold youth programs to emphasize the ills of tobacco-smoking by showcasing documentaries or movies that talk about the importance of adopting habits that are good for oneself, and teach about identifying and rejecting harmful influence in a sensitive manner. Teachers and other leaders should encourage teenagers to abstain from smoking by leading through example.

If an individual is  a serious smoker, then rehabilitation help must be sought along with employing the above-mentioned approaches. Products like e-hookah and shisha pens are safer and healthier alternatives that can be used to deliver a controlled amount of nicotine in the body. Various researches have shown them to be considerably useful in smoking cessation by making withdrawal symptoms more bearable. It is suggested to consult an expert before using them.

Have you ever participated or been a witness to methods adopted to bring about a change in a teenager’s smoking habits? Share your views in the comments section.