Entourage, fear or the desire to prove that they can be independent are among the causes that lead young people to start smoking. What is worse is that 90% of smokers in Romania acquired this habit from a young age.
Children are not aware of the dangers of smoking. Photo: Shutterstock
In our country, more than half of teenagers under 16 smoke. Most smoke more than a pack a day and are indifferent to the possible health problems that nicotine can cause. But what are the reasons that lead young people to start smoking?
Adolescence can be a confusing time, when young people are faced with new feelings and situations, and often find support in their group of friends. However, the environment is not always beneficial. From the desire to integrate more easily, to prove that they are mature enough to make their own decisions or even to rebel against certain prohibitions, young people end up trying their first cigarette. Many take up smoking out of curiosity or because it’s a common thing in their circle of friends, while girls see smoking as a way to lose weight.
Find out why he started smoking
It is impossible to solve a problem without discovering the causes that led to its appearance. Your first reaction may be to punish him and forbid him to smoke, but he is unlikely to listen. Instead of getting mad at him, try to find out what made him go down this path. Was he curious to see what it was like? Or maybe it’s a common habit in his group of friends and he caved to the pressure. If you find out why he started smoking, you will know what advice to give him and how to guide him to get rid of this habit.
The power of example
You will have a hard time convincing a child that smoking is harmful as long as his parents are smokers. To quit smoking it is good to have an example in the family. You can also discuss how many times you have tried to quit the habit, how difficult it is for you as time goes by and nicotine addiction increases. You can give him examples of situations where smoking was an obstacle or when you faced health problems because of the addiction.
Help him to be aware of the dangers
Young people know that they are unlikely to experience conditions such as cancer, heart attack or stroke at this age, so the threat of disease will not make them quit smoking. All teenagers are concerned about their physical appearance, so you can refer to examples in this regard, such as the risk of yellowing of teeth and nails, bad breath or premature appearance of wrinkles. You can also make them aware of how expensive cigarettes are and what they can buy instead, for example clothes or the much-desired model of mobile phone.
Try to keep him busy
Teenagers tend to smoke when they are on break at school or when they are relaxing. Although you can’t supervise him all the time, at home you can give him tasks that will keep his hands busy and so he won’t have time to think about smoking. Another solution would be to encourage him to practice a sport that requires him physically. In addition to the fact that he will change his surroundings, he will learn to be more disciplined and give up cigarettes in the desire to be better and better. In addition, sports eliminate stress and help increase self-confidence.