Teenage tobacco use...practical solutions for parents and teens themselves.
As teenage tobacco use continues to take its toll on teens themselves, parents and communities the most critical question to ask is what solutions are there.
It pretty much looks like teenage tobacco use has its roots in teenage invincibility mindset. Young people feel invincible in many ways.
They feel there is always a way around what affects others.In fact statistics don't mean anything much to many of them. It's something that they simply can't internalize. Statistics are rather more useful to you as a parent. They would be equally useful if only smoking teens would respect them.
Parents and other authorities who look after teens must keep an active pulse on what is going on around the world of tobacco use. It is a fact that tobacco companies are out to create and do business.
Their business is not to take care of a teenage boy or girl they don't even know. They only do that to meet the end of the law. After that its dog eat dog. They wouldn't care much about going an extra mile if it's not required by law let alone improve their profit margin. One more thing...laws have loopholes, who is "wise" enough to completely count on them.
Some have employed scare tactics. Scare the kids out of their boots by dreadful skinny cancer dying victims. I am rather compelled to point out that scare tactics only work in teen smokers as far as they remain scared.
As we all know it sometimes only takes a few encounters to get used and even friendly to the dog down the road despite its fierce barking, hairy face and tough talking stamina. So it is with quit smoking scare tactics.
The end result is to kill the ends of the sensitive nerves in young people.
In fact this is the center of the heavy criticism leveled against anti-smoking campaigners. Even though it initially works, medium to long term diminishing returns quickly step in. If you drive past a scary or disturbing billboard every day the whole year, how long would you remain scared? Would you remain scared if the billboard was changed? How many times would it have to be changed in a year for it to work? Should you remain scared or disturbed, would you resent anti-smoking campaigns?
Anti-smoking work is appreciated and will continue to be, but this is the downside.
Rather to resolve teenage tobacco use successfully there is need to involve the the teens. To give them room to participate and clearly understand the dangers of smoking without them feeling so much antagonized. This involves taking part in day to day life of your teen and knowing what they are up to.
Encouraging your teen child to take part in active hobbies like sport and so on is very useful. This is also for parents whose teens are not smoking. Interestingly, the CDC notes that there is marked reduction in regular smoking in teens who take part in increased sporting activity.
Sporting activity further helps resolve teenage tobacco use through increasing poor performance making the effects of smoking apparent to the teen. Naturally this raises awareness in the teen about the effects of smoking. A first-hand solid experience.
Just to follow-up on the earlier point raised earlier on above, here are some issues to talk about when you engage in dialogue with a teen on tobacco use;
Ask for their own opinion about smoking dangers and why so many people continue to smoke anyway.
Ask them about their own observation about you and smoking. How do you react when you pass someone who is smoking, when you enter into a place where people are smoking. The idea is to point them to what they learn from you.
Ask them how much they think someone who smokes would do with money saved.
Ask for their opinion to stop smoking solutions. This will help you see things through their own eyes.
Some teenagers feel there is need for them to be incentivized in order to fully cooperate with quit smoking initiatives. Incentives might be as simple as spending half a day out of class just talking about smoking issues. Clubs and societies with rewards and points may also be investigated with the involvement of the kids.
To get teens talking more, meet them at their level through the ipods and SMS text messaging and so on. What if teens could respond to a teenage tobacco use poll via sms or mobile chat. Remember this is how Barack Obama successfully entered the territory of young people ahead of the 2008 US presidential election which he subsequently won.
Parents and other interested parties also need to take a more active role in collective smoking prevention programs. Policy advocacy work including lobby efforts around legislation enactment and enforcement to do with teenage tobacco use should be taken seriously.
What if you could get the nearest liquor and cigarette corner store in your community regulated? This would seriously impact positively on your smoking prevention agenda in the medium to long term.
In some parts of Europe like Ireland laws are lax for prosecuting those who sell tobacco to under age consumers. This is an example of a good opportunity to get laws enforced.
Apart from other solutions above, I personally put hope in the new "going green" revolution. It looks with certainty that many younger people will increasingly shun environmental enemies like tobacco smoke.This would be a good score and a self motivating anti-smoking campaign.
Click on the link to read about smoking causes that might give you reverse solutions to teenage tobacco use.
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