It's necessary to educate your kids early about the dangers of smoking. Children, encouraged by peers or tobacco ads, can come to see smoking as cool, grown-up, or daring. The very fact that it's forbidden can make it appealing to some kids. You must assume that your child will soon have access to cigarettes, if he doesn't already, and educate him about their dangers. However, if you're a smoker, the first and most important step is to lead by example and quit smoking.
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The website Kids Health states that 90 per cent of smokers started when they were children. Kids can become hooked on nicotine within days of first using it, because it's a chemical that can be as addictive as cocaine or heroin, according to Kids Health. One of the biggest dangers of smoking is that it forms an immediate, dangerous and possibly lifelong addiction.
Damage to the Body
The website PBS Kids lists health consequences of smoking. They range from the relatively mild, such as bad breath, diarrhoea and yellow teeth and nails, to possible heart attack, stroke, or cancer of the mouth, lungs, pancreas or bladder. Heartburn, ulcers, and asthma can be other side effects.
The average annual cost of smoking, assuming you smoke two packs a day at £2.20 a pack, adds up annually to almost £1,950, according to CSG Network. Its "smoking calculator" helps those considering smoking make an informed decision about how much it will cost. Put another way: That's a down payment on a car, a weeklong vacation to the Bahamas, or a whole new wardrobe.
What to Say
The Kids Health website suggests that you start talking to your children early about smoking, that you don't threaten them with punishment if they smoke, and that you listen as well as talk. Other tips include discussing the sometimes-unrealistic portrayal of smoking in movies and on TV, and suggesting that your child sign up for sports, because players are discouraged from smoking. The most important thing is to build up your child's self-esteem, because confident children are less likely to bow to peer pressure, according to the site.
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