The Global Youth Tobacco Survey conducted in Jordan reports that almost 24% of students aged 13-15 currently use a tobacco product and almost 44% of the same group used tobacco at some point.
Young boys and girls in this vulnerable age group usually smoke due to a number of reasons such as peer pressure or due to their desire to try something new and prove their independence. Tackling the issue as parents is a sensitive territory that most parents shy away from due to fear of producing a negative effect, however it is crucial since research shows that teen who have been counseled by their parents (even if they smoke themselves) on the harmful effects of smoking are 50% less to smoke. Here are a few tips to help you along the way:
1) Make sure your home is smoke free to protect your children from both observing the behavior as well as the harmful effects of second-hand smoke.
2) Take note of your child’s friends’ behaviors, such as, if any of them smoke or use vape and help them know what to do when someone offers them to try tobacco in any of its forms.
3) Describe the effects of smoking to your child, such as the smell it produces, the effect on their skin and breath as well their overall health.
4) Compare what it costs to smoke with other things you know your child appreciates, such as clothing or electronic games.
5) If you smoke, your best approach to helping your child not smoke is to quit yourself and not letting them see you smoking or smoking around them. You can still help your child steer away from this addictive and harmful behavior by telling them how you wish you never started it and that it is difficult to quit.
6) Ask your child’s school to implement health awareness programs and hold activities and sessions to make sure they complement and reinforce the messages you discuss at home. An example of such programs is Tahseen (Generation protected), one of RHAS’s programs, which it aims to build youth capacity on social and life skills and motivate them to engage in productive activities in addition to raise their awareness as well as their parents on harmful effects of addiction to smoking and drugs.