September 24, 2012
BERLIN (Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa)) -- Teenagers who start smoking are fooling themselves if they think they can easily quit. A recent study by the University of California in San Francisco showed that smoking just two cigarettes a day was enough to hook 13- to 17-year-olds on nicotine.
"Parents should clearly speak out against smoking to their child as early as primary school age," advised Matthias Brockstedt, an addiction counsellor for Germany's Professional Association of Children's and Young People's Physicians. He said parents could help their teenaged children by bolstering their self-esteem and giving them tips on how to say "no" to cigarettes.
Adulthood is unimaginably far off for adolescents, so they are best deterred from smoking when made aware of the negative short-term consequences of nicotine consumption, for example bad breath, yellowed fingers and teeth, and sallow skin. Other undesirable effects include stinky clothing, hair that smells of stale smoke, shortness of breath and diminished athletic performance.
"The fact that smokers are at a high risk of developing cancer, heart attacks, strokes and leg artery disease later in life can be illustrated only by instancing relatives or acquaintances because adolescents think such terrible things happen to other people but not anyone close to them," Brockstedt said.
Ideally, fathers and mothers should be non-smoking role models, he said. If they do smoke, however, then preferably they should do so outside the home. They should also let their children know that they regret having started to smoke.
Copyright 2012 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH