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The Informed Parent

Your Teen Decides To Quit Smoking: What Can A Parent Do To Help?

by Peter W. Welty, M.D., F.A.A.P.
Published on Oct. 13, 2008

The decision to quit smoking is monumental! Ultimately the task can be done by no one but your child himself. Your teen must have the will power and the tenacity to quit. Coupled with that, throw in some fear for motivation. Cancer is an ever present threat.

To begin with it is important to set a quit day, preferably within the next two weeks. You can help your teen prepare for quitting. Have him tell family and friends of his intentions. This way more people will be involved in helping him. Removing cigarettes from his environment will decrease the temptation to smoke. Open discussion is vital. Be available. Be understanding. Make him aware of the anticipated challenges ahead.

Some people benefit from nicotine gum or patches. This should be discussed with your teen's pediatrician first.

Help him develop other strategies when he is tempted to begin smoking again. Suggest that he try chewing gum or ice chips. An exercise program will help. Overeating is not recommended, however a temptation. If there are other smokers in the home, perhaps all can quit together.

Congratulate him on his success after short periods of smoking abstinence. Help him with any available self-help materials on quitting. Your child's doctor may be able to provide additional information. He can recommend other more intensive measures if there are challenges encountered with quitting smoking.

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