When to have ‘that’ smoking conversation.

Cancer Council Western Australia has recently launched a new campaign highlighting the 16 cancers that are directly related to smoking. 

The video produced to accompany the campaign shows, in graphic detail, five of the cancers caused by smoking; lung, bowel, bladder, throat and stomach. (WARNING: graphic imagery may not be suitable for children).

Smoking is a worrying issue for many parents. Of course, few of us want our children to take up smoking and want to prepare our kids to make considered decisions when faced with choices around smoking in later life.

The greatest uptake in smoking starts in early adolescence. Considering this, it is important to have the conversation with your kids as early as possible around the harmful effects of smoking, but also opening up the opportunity for your kids to ask you questions or share their worries with you.

Unfortunately, many young people feel peer pressured to smoke, maybe because they are trying to fit in, it seems like the cool thing to do, or to feel independent. By being open and providing space for conversations, as parents, we can help our kids build up the confidence when faced with peer pressure to make a choice that’s right for them.

If you are worried your child or teenager is smoking, it is important not to overreact. Take the time to ask your child about it first and share your concerns with them again and allow them to share their own opinion.

Tips for speaking to your kids about the dangers of smoking:

  • Ask your children what they find appealing or unappealing about smoking
  • Explain the dangers of smoking, tobacco and nicotine use
  • Reinforce the financial burden of smoking
  • Let your kids know the cosmetic issues around smoking, bad breath, stained fingers and teeth etc.
  • Explain that most adults and teenagers don’t smoke – they are not the odd ones out

At Life Education, our ‘On The Case’ app has been designed for parents, and kids, to learn about the dangers of smoking in a fun and engaging way and supports the ‘On the Case’ module that gets taught at schools. As a family, you can help discover the physical effects of smoking, the history and laws relating to smoking and also why many people choose not to smoke by helping time-travelling detective Mac McHardy solve the case of why smoking is unhealthy.

Have you spoken to your kids about smoking? Share your tips and experience with us.