Adolescents Feature Articles
How Can I Keep My Teenage Daughter From Smoking?
|Teenage girls are becoming smokers at higher
rates than teenage boys. Several studies have shown that
about 30% of teenage girls smoke, compared to 22% of boys.
Girls tend to ignore the health risks that go along with
smoking and to exaggerate the number of friends who also
smoke. Girls say that they smoke to appear older and to
appear more confident. Girls who smoke may also start
Parents can help keep their teenage daughters from smoking by working
with them to accomplish three steps. The first step is to
have the self-confidence to decide that they did not need to
smoke to fit in with their friends. For some girls this
means making different friends. For others, it means getting
involved in activities where they do not need to smoke to be
accepted. Girls who have passed the first step often feel
that smoking is "dumb" or "pointless."
The second step involves doing some very specific things
that show others and themselves that they are not going to
smoke. These may include saying "no" when offered
cigarettes, making excuses for not smoking, avoiding smokers
and smoking areas, and finding other ways to fit in.
The third step involves doing some very specific things
that result in her being known as a "nonsmoker." As a
result, her friends will accept this identity and stop
pressuring her to smoke. One way to be accepted as a
nonsmoker is to strike a deal of shared respect and to also
accept her friends who are smokers. A second way is to "get
firm" and publicly declare her decision not to smoke,
without fear of losing her friends.
Teenage girls who have decided not to smoke or who have quit after trying cigarettes, say that it helps to have supportive friends and adults. In order to develop the self-confidence they need to keep from smoking, they need people who will listen to them and accept them for who they are. Parents and family members can play important roles by being members of her support group. They can help her recognize and celebrate the positive steps she makes along the way to becoming a nonsmoker for the rest of her life.
Last Updated 12/08/2016