By Alana Gold, Registered Dietitian
Do you know if your child smokes? Worried about the short and long-term health problems associated with smoking? With Canadian teenagers smoking more than 1.6 billion cigarettes each year - totaling more than $330 million in retail sales - the time for change is now. Truestar is here to tell parents what you should know about smoking and your kids.
Consider the following facts:Most children start smoking between the ages of 11 and 13 years.
Most young people who smoke regularly continue to smoke throughout adulthood.
In 2001, an estimated 800,000 kids under 12 were regularly exposed to second-hand smoke in the home.
Fewer Canadian teenagers aged 15-19 are smoking. In 2001, only 22.5% of teens smoked, down from 28% in 1999.
Approximately half of all smokers die from a smoking-related illnessheart disease, lung cancer, emphysema and other ailments.
To help prevent your child from smoking:Keep your home smoke-free.
Encourage your child to say no to smoking and not to give into peer pressure.
Teach your child about the harmful effects of smoking both short-term and long-term. Short-term problems including bad smell from cigarettes, stained teeth, clothes and fingers, and respiratory problems. Long-term effects include cancer, heart disease, stroke and other serious health problems.
Teach your child not to be fooled by the cigarette advertisements which show smoking as glamorous or the cool thing to do.
Encourage your child to join smoking prevention programs in their school or community.
Let your child know smoking can make participating in sports and activities difficult.
If you smoke or your child already smokes, think about quitting.
Not ready to quit stage: If you or your child is not ready to quit, think about the harmful effects of smoking both now and in the future.
Thinking about quitting stage: If you or your child is thinking about quitting, consider all the advantages as well as the risks if you continue to smoke.
Ready to quit stage: When you or your child is ready to quit, be sure to understand when, where and why you smoke to try and avoid those smoking triggers. Learn how to coach yourself and give yourself a pat on the back each day for not smoking. Also, set a quit date and tell your family and friends for support. Be sure to ask for help when needed.
See the Truestar Smoking Cessation Program to learn how we can help you quit! Also, get your kids healthy with the Truestar Kids plan: nutrition, exercise, supplements, sleep and attitude.
Also see article on Natural Quit Smoking Remedies