children and smoking
An adult with a cigarette in his hand – we see this picture every day. But more and more children are reaching for the fags. You can find out why this is so, what dangers smoking entails for this age group in particular, and how parents can prevent this vice.
Why do teenagers smoke?
Children can start smoking for a number of reasons. Studies show that significantly more children whose parents are smokers smoke cigarettes. Quite clearly: if the little ones see us with a cigarette, they imitate this at some point. And if smoking serves to calm us adults, a child will try out the learned solution strategy in a stressful situation.
Nevertheless, among the very young smokers there are also children whose parents are non-smokers themselves. Because children smoke not only because they see it in others, but also to belong. Smoking is considered cool and children in particular do not want to be outsiders. The cigarette in the hand stands for nonchalance and light-heartedness and the advertising contributes significantly to this image. Of course, cigarette packs and advertising posters have been pointing out the harmfulness of smoking for some time. But the slogans and scenes of the advertising campaigns that convey freedom and fun through smoking are more memorable. Also read: Clique formation in school
But smoking cigarettes is anything but carefree fun. A cigarette contains over 3500 chemical compounds – of which around 210 are classified as toxic. And another shocking number: 40 of these compounds are known to be major carcinogens. Probably the most well-known ingredient in a fag is nicotine. Nicotine influences the reaction of our nerve cells in the brain and is crucially responsible for the addictive effect of cigarettes. Other harmful ingredients in cigarettes are tar, carbon monoxide, various heavy metals (such as mercury), formaldehyde and ammonia. The list could be continued indefinitely – but it is already clear which toxins the so-advertised smoking smuggles into our bodies. These substances are much more effective in children than in adults. This is partly due to the much lower body weight of a child. Even a single cigarette butt swallowed by a baby or small child can have fatal consequences
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Passive smoking is also harmful
In addition to active smoking, passive smoking is a serious problem. Children who are surrounded by cigarette smoke have a significantly increased risk of developing cancer. Asthma and chronic bronchitis are other diseases that can be attributed to passive smoking. In addition, the development of the brain is impaired, which can manifest itself in developmental disorders. Last but not least, smoking creates an addiction that is difficult to get rid of.
What can I do if my child smokes?
We parents have the important task of educating our children about the dangers of smoking at an early age. We can make it very clear to our offspring at a young age what we think of smoking and what reasons we have for it. Kindergarten and primary school children can be influenced very positively in this respect. With older children, who are increasingly exposed to peer pressure at school or in their free time, it becomes more difficult – that is why it is so important to create a reasonable basis in good time. However, open discussions and clear agreements regarding cigarettes can be effective at any age. A stable self-esteem can protect a child from having to prove himself through any actions – like smoking here.
As mentioned above, children must always be protected from passive smoking. Adults should generally not smoke in the presence of children. And if you absolutely cannot or do not want to escape your addiction, you should at least not reach for a cigarette in closed rooms, but go outside the door or onto the balcony. The health of children must be protected – and cigarettes and cigarette smoke from passive smoking must be kept away from them!
That is why you should give up smoking during pregnancy .