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Published on March 19, 2019

tobacco is changing - how to talk to your teenager

Tobacco is changing

Cigarette use may be dropping among young users, but other tobacco products are increasing in popularity and are just as dangerous. New items on the market come in a variety of shapes, styles and flavors. Like cigarettes, they contain cancer causing chemicals and are designed to deliver nicotine, which is highly addictive and can hook kids for life.

Tips for talking to your kids about tobacco

There's no need to be an expert to talk to your kids about tobacco. Let them know you care and try to help them understand the facts they need to make healthy choices. 

  1. Make the conversation personal. Most people who use tobacco want to quit. Smoking is an addiction. Sharing stories can help children understand how damaging tobacco can be in any form.
  2. Focus on right now. The immediate costs of tobacco—shortness of breath, mouth sores, yellow teeth, bad breath, addiction—are easier for children to relate to than long-term health effects.
  3. Talk about the social costs. Smoking causes odor, yellow teeth and bad breath.
  4. Being tobacco-free is popular. Most young people do not use tobacco.
  5. Ask them to ask about it. Let your child know they can feel comfortable talking to you about questions they have and you can find the answers together. 

For more information, call 1-800 QUIT NOW (784-8669). To learn more about resources available at Gundersen, contact Susan Lundsten at 775-5442 or smlundst@gundersenhealth.org.

Tobacco is Changing website https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/tobaccoischanging/index.htm

Love + Medicine

Every day, Gundersen Health System staff deliver great medicine plus a little something extra—we call it Love + Medicine.

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