Approximately 90 percent of all smokers started when they were teenagers, according to HealthyChildren.org. Once they start, it can be quite difficult for children to quit. Given that one-third of all smokers who started young eventually die younger than normal because of causes related to smoking, according to HealthyChildren.org, it's crucial to make your child stop now.
Tell your child exactly what he's putting in his body. Tell him that just one drop of pure nicotine is enough to kill a human being, and let him know that he's inhaling nicotine with each puff of his cigarette. Your child might also be appalled to learn that his cigarettes also cause him to inhale benzene, a chemical added to paint and plastics, and ammonia, which is used in fertilizers, according to HealthyChildren.org.
Talk with your child about what he's doing to his health when he smokes cigarettes. Educate him about his higher risk of heart disease, lung cancer and emphysema, all conditions that could be fatal. The thought of possibly dying can be all it takes to sway your child to stop smoking.
Remind your child that smoking is unattractive. Many children, especially teens, care deeply about how they look, and might be appalled to discover that they smell bad and that others don't want to be around people who smell like stale cigarette smoke.
Help your child make a plan for quitting, KidsHealth recommends. Make an appointment with his pediatrician for advice and seek out quitting resources. Your child's doctor can discuss the costs, risks and benefits of quitting tools, such as nicotine patches or gum, as well as support groups.
Make new rules. Establish clear guidelines that prohibit your child from smoking in your house or out in the backyard. Refuse to supply cigarettes or give your child money to buy his own. If his friends also smoke, prohibit your child from spending time with bad influences.
Make a pact with your child if you're also a smoker. Promise each other that you'll each try to quit. Give each other support and guidance when the going gets tough.
- BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images