Protecting your child from taking up smoking

By the Royal Health Awareness Society

Almost 24 per cent of students aged 13 to 15 currently use a tobacco product, and almost 44 per cent of the same group used tobacco at some point, according to the Global Youth Tobacco Survey conducted in Jordan.

Young boys and girls in this vulnerable age group usually smoke due to several reasons, such as peer pressure, their desire to try something new and prove their independence.

Tackling the issue as parents is sensitive territory that most shy away from addressing. However, research shows that teens counselled by their parents (even if the parents smoke themselves) on the harmful effects of smoking are 50 per cent less likely to smoke.

Here are a few tips to help parents along the way:

 
Making sure your home is smoke-free to protect your children from both observing the behaviour as well as the harmful effects of second-hand smoke

 
Taking note of your child’s friends’ behaviours, such as if any of them smoke or use vape, and help them know what to do when someone offers them tobacco in any of its forms

 
Describing to your child the effects of smoking, such as the smell it produces, the effect on their skin and breath as well their overall health

 
Comparing what it costs to smoke with other things you know your child appreciates, such as clothing or electronic games

 
Quitting tobacco if you or your spouse smokes since children whose parents smoke are more likely to start smoking themselves. You can still help your child steer away from this addictive and harmful behaviour by telling them how you wish you never started and that it is difficult to quit

 
Asking your child’s school to implement health awareness programmes, such as Tahseen (see below), and hold activities and sessions to ensure they complement and reinforce the messages you discuss at home

Tahseen (Generation protected)

One of RHAS’s programmes, Tahseen, raises students’ and parents’ awareness of the harmful effects of addiction to smoking and drugs. It also aims to build youth capacity on social and life skills and motivate them to engage in productive activities.   

To learn more or get involved, visit www.rhas.org.jo

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