Oral Health News

November 2018

Preventing tobacco use

You can help prevent your tween or teen from using tobacco with these tips:

  1. Set a good example by not using tobacco products. Try to quit if you do.
  2. Understand your teen’s personality and why they may want to try tobacco. Are they looking to fit in? Going through a rebellious stage?
  3. Do not allow tobacco use. Set rules, make them known and enforce consequences.
  4. Remind your tween/teen about the gross effects of tobacco use: smelly clothes, yellow teeth, bad breath and wrinkles. Kids are self-conscious. Use that to your advantage.
  5. Calculate the cost of a tobacco habit with your child. What is the weekly, monthly or yearly cost of use? What would your tween or teen rather spend their money on?
  6. Teach your teen how to say no and resist peer pressure. Have those tough conversations.
  7. Take addiction seriously. Explain how easy it is for an occasional habit to become an addiction. Stress how difficult it is to quit.
  8. Discuss long-term effects, like cancer, heart disease and lung disease. Use examples of people your teen knows to help make your point.
  9. Don’t stop at cigarettes. Tobacco is available in many forms - chew, snuff or e-cigs (vaping) can be just as addictive and harmful.
  10. Get involved in smoke-free campaigns in your community.

Signs of tobacco use:

  1. Your child’s clothing, backpack or car (or your garage) smell like smoke.
  2. You find lighters or matches laying around or in the pockets of their clothing.
  3. There is a round wear spot on the back pocket of your child’s pants. This is a sign of chewing tobacco.
  4. You notice small, round burn holes on clothes or the seats of your teen’s car.
  5. Your teen is constantly using mouthwash, chewing gum or sucking mints.
  6. Your teen is leaving bedroom, basement or car windows partially open.
  7. You notice your child spending time outside more frequently.

More resources

Teen smoking: 10 ways to keep teens smoke-free

Teen Smoking