Although people are cracking down on the availability of tobacco products to underage children, many children and teens are still getting their hands on cigarettes and other tobacco products. Because underage use of tobacco amongst teens is growing at an alarming rate, it has become more important than ever for you to keep watch over your children to prevent this type of thing from happening in your home or in your family. The following is a list of some of the things that you can do to prevent underage use of tobacco amongst teens within your family and within your household.
Just being blunt and asking “Are you using tobacco?” may seem like the straightforward approach, but it is highly unlikely to get an honest answer. Make it conversational, ask if any of their friends are using tobacco and if they are follow that up by asking your teen how they feel about that. This can help you bond with your teen and get an honest response, and allow you to reinforce any resistance they have to peer pressure.
- Watching For The Signs: Tobacco use leaves behind a lot of signs. A teenager sneaking a smoke will try to cover up the smells of the use. Breath mints, spray and mouth wash may be used to try and cover up the smell of smoke on the breath. Body spray or an odor eliminating spray may be used to try and remove the smell of smoke that lingers on clothes.
- Hug Your Child: A hug or handshake is a great way to help reinforce your teen’s knowledge that they are loved and supported. While you are in closer contact with them though keep alert, smoking will leave behind signs of use. So be aware for signs of tobacco use like the smell of smoke or stains on their teeth.
- Do Their Laundry Now And Then: You may not be thrilled at the prospect of doing your teen’s laundry, but it can be a great way to find out if they are using tobacco. Tobacco smoke is very hard to remove from clothing so make sure to be alert for that scent. Check the pockets as well since many people forget to empty them so you may find tobacco residue or packaging.
- Get To Know Their Friends: Peer pressure causes a lot of teens to get into tobacco use in the first place. By knowing their friends you can be alert to potential problems and better able to prepare them for dealing with peer pressure.
- Use Positive Motivation: It is important to praise your teen for the good decisions that they make. This will help to strengthen their self-confidence that will allow them to resist giving in to peer pressure to use tobacco. You will of course need to employ punishments from time to time, but remember that it is at least equally important to reward good behavior.
- Know Your Resources: Tobacco is an extremely addictive substance and can be very difficult to stop using it. There are many resources online or available from local organizations to help you in this trying time. This can help get you in touch with treatment centers, various aids to help combat the addiction, support groups and many other options.
If you realize that your teen is using cigarettes or other tobacco products in your home without being old enough to legally do so, there are steps that you can take to get them some help. The first thing that you are going to want to do is to become as well versed and well educated as you possibly can on the subject of smoking while underage. This is going to help you have the best understanding of the situation and what you can do to remedy it.
Sometimes you can turn to an intervention specialist or a drug and substance abuse rehab facility in your area. While cigarettes are not typically considered an abused substance, a child or teen who is using tobacco products is doing so illegally and so it is typically well within your right to get them some much needed help.
Remember that a little bit of help and support when your teen needs it the most can really go a long way in ensuring that they get the help they need without the possibility of relapse. Now is the time for you to step up and help your teen get some real professional help for their problem.