Talk With Your Kids About Tobacco: 5 Tips to Get You Started

Published by Tobacco Stops With Me on November 29, 2017

Being a parent is one of the most rewarding jobs out there. It’s also one of the toughest, especially when it comes to discussing important issues like tobacco use. But as statistics show, youth tobacco use is a serious problem:

8,400 kids under 18 in Oklahoma try cigarettes for the first time each year.
4 out of 5 youth smokers become adult smokers.

It’s inevitable that your child will face peer pressure and targeted messaging from Big Tobacco. That’s why it is essential to talk with your kids about the dangers of tobacco use.

As a parent, your attitudes and opinions will strongly influence your child’s behavior. You can play a huge role in helping your children make the right choices when it comes to tobacco, protecting them and improving the health of our state.

The following 5 tips can help you get the conversation started:

  1. SHARE THE FACTS. Give your children the honest facts about tobacco so they can make the right choice. If friends or relatives have been affected by tobacco-related illnesses, explain the role tobacco played.
  2. TALK EARLY AND OFTEN. 1 in 5 Oklahoma students uses tobacco. It’s never too early to warn your child of the dangers of tobacco use.
  3. HELP YOUR CHILD LEARN TO SAY “NO.” Youth are highly vulnerable to the pressures of their peers and the tobacco industry. Help them create a plan for how to say “no” when faced with these pressures.
  4. MAKE IT A TWO-WAY CONVERSATION. Talk with, not at your child. Listen carefully and actively to what your child says, and encourage them to ask questions or share their feelings and concerns.
  5. LEAD BY EXAMPLE. Children of parents who use tobacco are more likely to try it themselves. If you use tobacco, don’t do it in your child’s presence, and definitely don’t leave it anywhere that they can get it. Better yet, set a healthy example by quitting with FREE help from the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline. Click here.

View tips on talking with your kids about tobacco use.

Click here for more information about the dangers of tobacco and the impact you can have.