The younger you start smoking, the more damage your body will suffer as you get older.
Here are some important reasons to quit and ways to help you do it:
- You’ll be healthier and less out of breath – smoking decreases your lung capacity
- You’ll save yourself a lot of money
- You’ll look better – chemicals in cigarettes restrict blood flow to your skin decreasing elasticity and causing wrinkles
- Someone who starts smoking at 15 is 3 times more likely to die from cancer than someone who starts smoking in their mid-20s
- The younger you start smoking the more damage there’ll be to your body as an adult
- Smoking can harm your future fertility – for both boys and girls
Ways to get through quitting:
- Do it together with your friends – tell your friends to quit and encourage them to join you
- Talk to your GP – they maybe able to prescribe nicotine replacement therapy
- Set up a support network – your School Nurse can be part of this
- Stay healthy – eating lots of sugary snacks can stimulate cigarette cravings
- Keep focused – you can do this!
Under-18s guide to quitting smoking - NHS (www.nhs.uk)
Advice for Parents/Carers:
If you find your child smoking, take it seriously. Stopping smoking in its tracks is the best way to promote a lifetime of good health.
- Set an example – parents and carers are powerful influences in a teen’s life. If you smoke, the young person might interpret your actions as an endorsement for the behaviour. Ask your doctor about stop-smoking products and resources to help you stop smoking. In the meantime, don't smoke in front of your teen.
- Start talking - tell your teen how much you want him or her to stop smoking. But keep in mind that commands, threats and ultimatums aren't likely to work.
- Don’t lecture - rather than lecturing your teen on the dangers of smoking, ask them to consider the negative aspects of smoking. Offer your own list and appeal to their vanity
- Explain that smoking – gives you bad breath, makes your clothes and hair smell, turns your teeth and fingers yellow
- Help make a plan - many young people who smoke think they can stop anytime; research shows this isn't usually true. Teens can become addicted after smoking as few as five packs of cigarettes.
- Be supportive – if your young person quits and slips up - remain supportive. Congratulate them on the progress he or she has made and encourage them not to give up. Help them identify what went wrong and what to do differently next time.
- CELEBRATE SUCCESS - Offer a favourite meal for a smoke-free day, a new t-shirt for a smoke-free week or a party with non-smoking friends for a smoke-free month. Rewards and positive reinforcement can help your teen maintain the motivation to stop smoking for good.
If you are in need of support or advice, your School Nurse can help.
You can click on 'how to contact us' for ways to get in touch or visit your School Nurse at a school drop-in session.