If kids didn’t start smoking, the problematic use of tobacco would be a thing of the past before the end of this century!
Kids learn from an early age that tobacco is bad for their health yet every day there are young people in Canada taking their first puffs. Most smokers start using tobacco before their 19th birthday, at an average age of 13. It’s obvious that education about the harmful effects of cigarettes, cigars and chewing tobacco is not enough to stop kids from trying tobacco.
If you’re a teacher, maybe some of your students started smoking over the summer and they’re now suffering withdrawal in your classroom!
Some teens are persuaded to try tobacco by their peers if they are more influenced by this group than their parents. They may not be aware that the first puffs of a cigarette or a flavoured cigar may lead to a lifetime of nicotine addiction. Three out of four young smokers will continue to smoke into adulthood.
It only takes a few cigarettes to make changes in the teenage brain, leading to cravings and continued use of tobacco. Even though many teens do not smoke daily, they still have difficulty quitting.
Teachers and parents can support children to avoid tobacco use with conversations about:
- Nicotine addiction and how few cigarettes it may take to cause cravings and ongoing tobacco use
- Financial costs of tobacco addiction – and it’s not just the cost of the tobacco
- Manipulation of youth’s perception of tobacco by the tobacco industries
- Strategies to avoid starting to use tobacco and refusal skills
- Healthy strategies to deal with the stress of life
- Benefits of never starting
You have a role in supporting a tobacco free community! Northern Health supports the cultural and ceremonial use of smoke, tobacco and other legal sacred plants and recognizes the benefits of traditional and spiritual uses can outweigh the potential harms.
About Nancy Viney
Nancy is a registered nurse working in Northern Health’s population health team. She often imagines a day when no one in northern British Columbia suffers from the harmful effects of tobacco. In her time off, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, especially her two little grandchildren! Nancy also enjoys quilting, knitting, crocheting and many other home spun crafts.