In the United States alone , kids and smoking is an issue many parents have to face.More than 3,200 teenagers younger than 18 years smoke their first cigarette. An additional 2,100 youngsters and young adults become daily cigarette smokers. If smoking continues at the current rate among young people in the United States, 5.6 million young Americans younger than 18 will die earlier than they should from an illness related to smoking .
Should you be concerned about kids and smoking?
Studies have shown that nicotine may groom or prime the brain to enhance the effects of cocaine.
Smoking cigarettes may be a dangerous drug that opens the door to other drugs.
The habits young ones start early in life may become much harder to change when they are older.
Are your Kids aware that Nicotine Changes the Brain?
Strong Evidence shows that most people who tried drugs like cocaine were originally tobacco or alcohol users.
This idea of “gateway drugs” has received much controversy.
Many people questioned whether past use of nicotine, alcohol, or marijuana actually leads to drug use at a later stage.
In the past studies have not been able to prove biologically why smoking or other nicotine use could increase a person’s chances of using illegal street drugs.
That has now changed!
The National Institute of Drug Abusers have researchers that experimented with mice who were drinking water tainted with nicotine.
These experts found that the mice drinking nicotine laced water for 7 days increased their cocaine response. Read more on their findings…….
So Why would this occur?
Researchers admitted that their experiments showed that your DNA structure is altered when Nicotine is used.
Nicotine rewires the brains response to how some genes are expressed— Especially the addiction gene.
The response to cocaine is ultimately enhanced.
To help your Kids You need to firstly understand why kids smoke.
The unconscious mind of a young person as with an adult is open to influence.
If your Kids friends smoke the peer pressure to give in and try will be greater.
Sit down and discuss openly whether your kid is under pressure to smoke or take drugs.
Many forms of entertainment and advertising may impress upon the youngsters minds that smoking will make you more popular.
Many movies and celebrities link smoking and drug use to feeling or being cool and accepted.
Young people naturally want to be seen as adults and many may feel that smoking will make them look more grown-up.
Stress and smoking are often linked.
Kids and smoking may be linked to stress that your young one is experiencing.
- Try to sit down with your youngster and find out what causes them stress in life.
- How are they truly feeling?
A large army of teens worldwide find smoking of any sort appealing when they are trying to cope with the stressful years of adolescence.
Studies have proven that stress, pain and mental alertness are all positively affected by the use of nicotine.
- Help your child or teenager understand that despite the benefits outlined above, the addictive nature of nicotine makes it a dangerous drug to try.
- Empathise with your teenager and let them know that It’s not hard for any of us to become addicted, whether we are teenagers or adults.
Just 3 cigarettes is what it took to hook many teenagers and adults alike. Nicotine is a powerful drug and addiction to it is as hard to break as heroine or cocaine.
Tips to help with your kids and smoking.
- As a parent you still have the ability to influence your kids positively.
- Your good example is important.
- Even if you as a parent are a smoker or have used drugs you can still highlight the dangers of smoking.
- If you do smoke as a parent, I encourage you to quit if you can.
- Don’t smoke around your kids. Keep your cigarettes out of sight.
- Remember kids often follow our example rather than follow what we say.
- Parental smoking is the largest risk factor for kids smoking.
- Teenagers may need professional help.
- Don’t hold back in seeking help either online or from a counsellor.
- Get Support from family and friends.
- Let your child tell people that he or she is trying to quit and that they may be in a bad mood for a while
- Help your child find healthier ways to reduce stress. These ways may include sports or noncompetitive activities such as walking,jogging, hiking or yoga.
Please remember that your child is human and prone to making mistakes and making errors in judgement. Never forget that we were once young. They may relapse. Don’t flip out .Rather encourage and stand by them as they do their best to quit.
There is help for kids and smoking. You are not alone.
I welcome your comments and would be glad to offer any further help needed