How to Prevent Smoking in Teenagers

Adolescence is a sensitive period for tobacco consumption. Do you want to know how to prevent smoking in teenagers? We'll tell you.
How to Prevent Smoking in Teenagers

Last update: 06 February, 2022

Tobacco consumption has been normalized in today’s society, often without a real understanding of the serious consequences it entails. Worldwide, it’s been estimated that smoking is the first preventable cause of death, and in Spain, around 55 thousand deaths per year are caused by cigarettes. Therefore, it’s to be expected that parents worry about their teenagers. So today, we’re going to give you some tips on how to prevent smoking in teenagers.

Smoking usually starts in adolescence in an innocent way, but it can end up in a sustained addiction over time. Most adults who smoke started at this age and for this reason, prevention in young people plays a very important role in controlling this problem.

The consequences of adolescent smoking

If children start smoking in adolescence, their chances of suffering from tobacco-related diseases increase exponentially. Among them, some respiratory or cardiovascular problems, infertility, or cancer.

In addition to all this, the adolescent brain is still developing, so it’s much more vulnerable to toxins, such as nicotine.

One of the negative consequences associated with tobacco consumption is a greater predisposition to depression, which is why it’s important to avoid it from an early age. In addition, a child who starts smoking in adolescence is more likely to continue with this addiction in adulthood.

Another of the harmful effects associated with smoking is the development of small obstructions in their airways, which translates into poorer pulmonary function in the long term. It also increases the risk of suffering from other respiratory diseases, such as infections.

A teenage girl smoking.

Tips to prevent teenagers from smoking

Many teenagers who start smoking at this stage do so to be accepted by their peer group. For this reason, it’s important that we give them all the information from the time they’re young so that they know how dangerous smoking can be. Here are some tips to prevent your children from starting to smoke.

Become the best example

It’s useless to tell your children not to smoke if you yourself smoke because they’ll see it as something normal and even harmless. If you smoke, you can also suffer the negative consequences, but you’re in time to quit the habit and prevent your children from adopting it.

Encourage them to play sports

Teenagers who practice sports are very clear that smoking reduces their lung capacity, that they perform less well, and that they get more tired. Therefore, sport is always a good ally to prevent smoking in adolescence.

Don’t be afraid to tell them not to smoke

Surely you think that no matter how much you tell your children not to smoke, they’ll end up doing it. But if you’re consistent in your message, it will surely get through in the long run.

Make it clear to them that smoking isn’t allowed at home, whether it’s tobacco or electronic cigarettes. Believe it or not, your disavowal will resonate in their minds much more than you think.

Explain the negative consequences of smoking

Talk to your children about the serious consequences of smoking. Although in the short term it may not seem like there are any, in the long term it can even lead to death.

Have a conversation with them as soon as possible and take advantage of any moment to do so. There’s no need to wait until they’re teenagers to broach the subject, as from the age of 6, they’re already capable of understanding the risks of maintaining a bad habit.

Consider peer pressure and teach them to stay away from it

Often, teenagers start smoking because of peer pressure. That’s why it’s important to give them the resources they need to know how to say no when offered tobacco. Social skills and assertiveness in communication will be your greatest allies.

Don’t scold them!

Teenagers don’t like lectures and scolding. Therefore, it’s better that you talk to them with some empathy and that you can warn them that smoking isn’t healthy. And most importantly, listen to them, ask them questions, and spend time with them.

Have a conversation with them based on understanding

Children often start smoking to fit in with a group because of the rebelliousness of this stage or to feel independent. It’s important to talk to them and ask them what they know about tobacco and if their friends smoke.

Explain to them that tobacco companies use very attractive and glamorous advertisements, precisely to encourage their purchase and consumption.

A mother with her arm around her teenage son's shoulder.

On how to prevent smoking in teenagers

To prevent smoking in teenagers, the main thing is to take the time to carry out good prevention. You should avoid ultimatums and threats, as none of these work as effectively as a timely and empathetic dialogue.

If your child has started smoking, find out why they’re smoking and find ways to help. Avoiding or quitting smoking is one of the best decisions a person can make if they want to maintain good health throughout their lives.

These tips can help you prevent your teen from starting to smoke, so be sure to put them into practice for your child‘s sake.

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  • Valdés, N., & Sánchez, S. (1999). El tabaco y las adolescentes: tendencias actuales. Organizacion Panamericana de la Salud.
  • Butler, S., Kegler, M. C., & Escoffery, C. (2009). INVESTIGACIÓN ORIGINAL. Visión de los padres acerca de las conversaciones con sus hijos adolescentes para evitar el consumo de tabaco en hogares afroamericanos de zonas rurales, mayo 2004-enero 2005. INVESTIGACIÓN, 6(2), 08_0066_es. Disponible en: https://www.cdc.gov/pcd/Issues/2009/apr/08_0066_es.htm
  • Rizo-Baeza, M., Noreña-Peña, A., Vázquez Treviño, M. G. E., Kuzmar, I., & Cortés Castell, E. (2018). Factores de riesgo de consumo de tabaco en adolescentes. Disponible en: http://rua.ua.es/dspace/handle/10045/86468