Children with parents that smoke are twice as likely to also start smoking, and at a younger age. This trend also exists for older siblings and close family members. The best thing you can do for your family, is to create a smokefree home – by helping close family members end their addiction to tobacco and asking visitors to refrain from smoking in your home.
You can also play a big role in encouraging your child not to smoke - even your teenager. You are a great influence in your child's life, and below are a few tips to help jumpstart a conversation with your child on staying tobacco free.
- Tell your children honestly and directly that you don't want them to smoke cigarettes or e-cigarettes. Give them clear, consistent messages about the risks of smoking, including the fact that nicotine is addictive.
- Start talking to your kids about smoking when they are 5 or 6 years old and continue through their high school years. Many kids start smoking at age 11 and some are addicted by age 14 – so the earlier you start talking, the better.
- Explain the health dangers of smoking, as well as the unpleasant physical aspects (such as bad breath, discolored teeth and wrinkled skin).
- Ask your children if they have any friends that smoke. Come up with ways to refuse a cigarette without losing a friend.
- If you catch your teen smoking, avoid threats and ultimatums. Ask a few questions and find out why your child is smoking; he or she may want to be accepted by a peer group or want your attention. Talk about what changes can be made in your teen's life to help him or her stop smoking.
Download our full guide on "How to Talk to Your Teen About Smoking" – including e-cigarettes.
Page last updated: February 7, 2020