Keeping cigarettes away from idle lips this summer

I doubt many parents want their kids to smoke, yet the end of the school year signals a period when teens may be more likely to give it a try.

Indiana University tobacco expert Jon Macy

Jon Macy

“There are some data that show an increase in cigarette sales in the summer months and also an increase in smoking onset among youth in the summer months,” said Jon Macy, assistant professor in IU’s School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation.

He suggests parents consider the following:

  • Engage in smoking-specific parenting practices like discussing with children your family’s values and expectations about smoking, establishing a contract specifying that children will avoid use of cigarettes and that parents will value their children’s smoke-free status, and rewarding children for complying with the contract.
  • Set household rules prohibiting smoking inside the home.
  • If a parent smokes, make sure children cannot access the cigarettes.
  • With lots of teens going to see summer blockbuster films, steer them away from movies that have smoking scenes by checking www.scenesmoking.org. Research has demonstrated that the more children are exposed to smoking images in the movies, the more likely they are to try smoking and progress to established smoking.

Adolescence is a key time to deter the onset of smoking. Results from the Indiana University Smoking Survey, possibly the longest (32 years and running) ongoing longitudinal study in the U.S. focusing specifically on cigarette smoking, have shown that the earlier individuals start smoking, the more likely they are to become regular smokers as adults and smoke at high levels.

Ruth Gassman, director of the Indiana Prevention Resource Center at the School of HPER, discusses in this article how kids can be at a greater risk for experimenting with drugs and alcohol, too, during the summer.  Do you wanna stop smoking? Macy offers these tips.

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