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Up in Smoke:  Warning Your Teen About Smoking

Dealing with smoking among teens has certain advantages over dealing with other drug related issues.  First, it is easy to catch a teen who has been around cigarette smoke because their clothes will smell of it.  Second, smoking is seen more and more negatively in our society everyday.  Finally, stores are becoming increasingly careful not to sell tobacco to underage buyers.  So, how can we use these advantages to help our teens avoid smoking?

First, if your teen or there clothes smell of smoke, ask them what's going on.  Even if they have not been smoking themselves, they may have been around someone who was.  You don't have to find out whether or not they were smoking.  Simply warn them about the dangers of second hand smoke and insist that they not be around anyone who is smoking.  Set up firm consequences if they come home again smelling of smoke, and be prepared to enforce them.

Next, if your teen continues to express an interest in smoking, ask them who they know and admires who smokes.  Encourage them to talk to some adults who have smoked for years, and find out if any of them think it is a good idea.  It is likely that even college students they know are already wishing they could quit. Finally, check out the stores in your area that sell cigarettes and make sure that they are not selling them to minors.  Talk to the manager and make sure that he understands that if you find that he has sold cigarettes to your teen, you will report him to the authorities and make sure his cigarette license is pulled.  Cigarettes are a major source of income for many small businesses and no one wants to take a chance on losing the right to sell them.

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