Why do teenagers take to smoking? This article provides answers to this question and offers suggestions to help your child quit smoking, if he has developed the habit.
By Dr Gowri Shankar Natraj
Teenagers of parents who smoke are most likely to take up the habit. So, why does a teenager smoke? It could be to show that he is a step above his peers, to show that he is independent or to get the attention of the opposite sex. At times, teenagers are also influenced by idols from tinsel town.
20-30% of teenagers take to smoking soon after they enter college. Nowadays, teenagers resort to different forms of smoking like the hookah and e-cigarettes as well. Let's look at how these forms of smoking affect teenagers.
Hookah smoking is considered fashionable by teens. It is a misconception that hookah smoking is less harmful than cigarette smoking. Hookah contains tobacco and contains high concentrations of nicotine, carbon monoxide (CO), tar and heavy metals.
Water-pipe smoking has been linked to malignancy, cardiovascular disease, pulmonary dysfunction and nicotine dependence.
It has the potential to transmit infectious diseases since the same mouth-piece is passed from person to person during a session.
E-cigarettes are 'low nicotine content' (LNC) cigarettes that are as addictive as typical cigarettes. Smoking e-cigarettes results in the same exposure to harmful chemicals as other nicotine products.
As the parent of a teenager who smokes, you can play a crucial role in helping him quit smoking. Here's what you can do:
Raise a mentally tough child who does not succumb to peer pressure. Watch video.
If your child starts smoking as a teen, he will find it harder to give it up as an adult. The habit is hard to kick if it is not detected early and if he has not received any support from you. Factors like abusive parents, broken homes, poor scholastic performance and parents’ habits also contribute to teen smoking behaviour.
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