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Info for Parents Centre for Addiction
and Mental Health

An Early Start: Let's talk about smoking

Tobacco is one of the most addictive and deadly drugs. Anti-smoking campaigns have made a difference in the way our society looks at smoking. However, many young people are still taking up the habit.

Most people who use illegal drugs or abuse alcohol started with cigarettes, and most regular smokers start before age 17. Children under age seven believe that "smoking is bad," but they see glamorous images of smoking on television and in movies. They often copy movie stars or people they know.

Here are some common situations and possible responses to help you talk with your kids about smoking:

"Look Mommy, I'm smoking!"

"I see you're pretending to smoke! I'm glad it's just a pretend cigarette, because we know cigarette smoking is really bad for you."

"If smoking is so bad, why do you smoke?"

"I know that smoking is not good for my body. Once you start to smoke, it's very hard to quit. I wish I had never started. I have to make sure I keep the smoke away from you."

"I'm afraid that Grandpa is going to die because he smokes."

"I can see why you're worried. I worry too. Cigarettes are a drug that makes your body hungry for more, so it's very hard to quit. That's why Grandpa doesn't want you to start."

"Michael's older sister and her friends smoke. They think it's cool."

"Maybe they think it makes them look grown-up, but you know that smoking is bad for you. Sometimes you have to do what is good for you and not worry about what others think."

On this topic

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